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STACKS REF 842 F22ht 

Farce de maTtre Pierre 

Tlie farce of Master 

Pierre Patelln, 


The tmllem of Pierre Ltvet 



Composed by an unknown Author about 1469 A. D. 


Illustrated with facsimiles of 
the woodcuts in the edition of 
PIERRE LEVET, Paris, ca. 1489 





Published November iqo$ 

To my friends 



Preface ....... ix xv 

Setting of the Comedie Franchise . . xvii xix 
Introduction ..... xxi xxxviii 

The Text 1-94 

Notes on the Text ..... 95112 
Notes on the Cuts . . . . 113116 


The emblem of Pierre Levet . . . Frontispiece 

Patelin, counting on his fingers .... 7 

It is too much ...... 15 

The Draper visits Patelin . , . . * 33 

The Shepherd comes to explain . . . 6 1 

The court scene . . . . . 71 

Patelin tries to collect his fee . . . . 91 



ALL that I have to say of Patelin as a 
work of literature will be found in the 
Introduction or in the Notes on the 
Text. It is not amiss therefore to make here cer- 
tain remarks of a more dry and technical nature. 
This translation was made from my manuscript 
copy of the only known extant exemplar of the 
Patelin printed by Guillaume Le Roy* at Lyons, 
about 1486. Before December 20, i49O,f Le Roy's 
Patelin was faithfully reprinted, with six excellent 
illustrative woodcuts, by Pierre Levet, a celebrated 
Parisian printer and publisher. Of Levet' s Pate- 
liny also, only one exemplar is now believed to ex- 
ist. This book, which is preserved at the Biblio- 
theque Nationale in Paris, is a beautiful specimen 

* Lent me by its generous owner, M. Albert Rosset of Lyons, 

-J- See my essay on 'Maitre Patelin in the Gothic editions by 
Pierre Levet and Germain Beneaut,' in Modern Philology for 
June, 1905. 



of early printing, and is fortunately in perfect con- 
dition. I say < fortunately ' because several pages 
have at some indefinite period been lost from the 
older Patelin by Le Roy. These are now replaced 
by pen-and-ink counterfeits, probably derived 
from Levet, and executed so skilfully as almost to 
escape detection. 

From the fifteenth century only one manuscript 
has come down. Whether or not this manuscript 
is earlier than Le Roy's edition, it offers a less 
authoritative text, and only one of its readings has 
been followed in this translation. But, since Le 
Roy's edition is probably the first, and as it is 
hardly more than seventeen years younger than the 
farce itself (ca. 1469), there is no reason to suppose 
that it differs essentially from the author's manu- 
script, which, no doubt, was long ago thumbed 
out of existence by the first actors who performed 
his masterpiece. 

It may be interesting to know how Founder's 
version of this farce is arranged for production at 
the Comedie Franchise. It is divided into three 
acts. The first ends with the Draper's soliloquy, 
Scene iv (lines 344-351). The second act begins, 
therefore, with Scene v. Scene vi, except the 
words c Hello ! Master Pierre ! ' spoken by the 
Draper a moment after he has knocked at Patelin's 
door, must be omitted. The Draper's soliloquy 


at the end of Scene vm will be uttered before he 
quits Patelin's bedroom. 

Pursuing this system, we must omit Scene x and 
Scene xn, though we hear the Draper pounding 
angrily on Patelin's door, and distinguish the words 
c Ho, there! mis'ess : where are you hiding?' 
Next, the Draper must speak the lines of Scene 
xiv, not in the street, but at Patelin's, as a kind of 

Act in begins with Scene xvi. As the Shepherd 
leaves him, the Draper disappears within his shop ; 
then the Shepherd, instead of going to Patelin's 
house and calling, f Is any one within ? * meets 
Patelin as that worthy comes strolling across the 
market-place, and accosts him because he recog- 
nises by Patelin's dress that he is a lawyer. We 
must now give the Shepherd an exit after his last 
lines in Scene xvn ; he will reappear, somewhere 
in the crowd, about as the Judge asks, f Where is 
the defendant ? Is he present in person ? ' shortly 
after the beginning of the trial scene. From this 
point onward the piece proceeds precisely as it did 
when it was first performed. 

In the text of my translation hardly any of these 
suggestions for rearrangement occur ; for they are 
purely modern and would often contradict the 
other set of stage-directions which are reasonably 
derived from study of the text. These are largely 


my own, though many of them are due to my 
notes on a performance of Founder's version at 
the Comedie Francaise in August, 1904. 

Elsewhere (pages xvii-xix) will be found a pretty 
accurate description of the stage-setting adopted 
by the Comedie Francaise. Absolute accuracy is 
something I am far from claiming ; for while the 
play was in progress the pit was rather dim, and 
I was too fascinated to be taking notes. 

In the oldest texts of Patelm there is but one 
stage-direction (see Notes on the Text, Note v), 
and there is no division into acts or scenes ; nor 
are the verses numbered, 

As to costume nothing need be said ; for 
M. Boutet de MonveFs sixteen dry-point etch- 
ings show admirably how the various personages 
in our farce would have been dressed about the 
year 1470. In the fourth volume of his work on 
Le Costume Historique, Racinet gives a lithographic 
reproduction of a fifteenth-century miniature show- 
ing what colours might be worn by a Judge, his 
Clerk, a Lawyer, and a Bailiff (or Sergent a verge), 
etc., in the second half of the fifteenth century. 
This lithograph is a copy of a French manuscript 
marked c Ancien fonds 9387' and preserved at 
the Bibliotheque Nationale. The miniature is no 
doubt an accurate representation of a court scene 
of that period. But the court scene in Patelin 


may reasonably be supposed to occur in a market- 

As we learn from the opening conversation be- 
tween Patelin and Guillemette, their clothes are 
threadbare ; and as the Shepherd says (to Patelin), 
c even though I be ill clad/ we may safely assume 
that his apparel was mostly in rags. 

The six illustrative woodcuts which Pierre Levet 
published with his Patelin about 1489 are offered 
in facsimile with this translation. These woodcuts 
were undoubtedly made especially for Levet's 
edition, and were not borrowed, with little or no 
sense of fitness, from some earlier work, as com- 
monly happened in the infancy of printing. They 
are valuable for two reasons : in the first place 
they are almost contemporaneous with our farce, 
and show, however crudely, what the illustrator, 
or illustrators (for there may have been two), 
fancied to have been the looks of five characters 
whose likes could be observed at any time ; in the 
second place, these woodcuts are no doubt the first 
that were ever made to illustrate for the printing- 
press a comedy composed in a modern tongue. 
Do they prove anything as to the use of stage 
scenery? Or are we to believe their setting is 
purely conventional, chosen merely because the 
engraver did not care to sketch figures in the 
air ? The question is hard to answer, yet I am con- 


vinced that the farces were not performed on empty 
platforms ; the ' serious drama ' was staged with 
complicated machinery., and it is hardly reasonable 
to suppose that the farces, which grew out of the 
c serious drama' and were often performed with it, 
could have lacked all scenery, or that they had, 
forsooth, no other setting than a wall, a floor, a 
bench and a chair. No archaeological proof exists 
to compel conscientious moderns to adopt a scene- 
less stage in performing medieval comedies; on 
the other hand, art does not require that they be 
elaborately staged, with gorgeous scenery such as 
is generally used to make Shakespere's plays seem 
more plausible to persons whose imaginations can 
not perceive the temple-haunting martlet amid 
his lov'd mansionry. 

Now, as to this translation. To the best of my 
belief no other English translation of Patelin has 
ever been printed. Thus there was no model, 
either to help or to harm ; nor was there, further- 
more, any adequate dictionary to quicken the 
pace. I cannot say, as Shelton said of his Don 
gtuixote, that I did this work in forty days. It 
has taken nearer twenty months, and in this case it 
is not at all true that c le temps ne fait rien a 
1' affaire'; for Patelin teems with difficulties, 
some of them so great that perhaps they may 
never be solved, while others yield their secret 


only after one has ransacked a dozen volumes for 
the answer. Of course the commentators* help, 
especially when they are scholars like Mr. Kris- 
toffer Nyrop or the late Gaston Paris, but in the 
main the translator has had to make his way alone, 
then retrace his steps a score of times, smoothing 
his path little by little, until he concludes at last 
that further efforts on his part are vain. He is 
a pioneer and knows perfectly well that some day 
the work will be better done. 

* Genin's edition, published In 1854, snou ^ not be forgotten. 
Genin put forth several theories whose falsity could hardly have 
failed to be evident to some of his contemporaries, and not only 
his text, but also his commentary, contains many inaccuracies ; 
yet Genin, despite his whimsies, was a clever man, and his edi- 
tion deserved the recognition accorded to it by Littre and Renan. 
Ample allowance must be made for the fact that Romance philo- 
logy was at that time a new science. 

Paul Lacroix published his edition of Patelin in 1 859. Lacroix 
made some improvements in the text, but his notes, often derived 
from Genin, show no great advance, and are marred by their 
facetious abuse of Genin. 



(With some stage-directions) 


AM ARKET-PLACE, such as one might 
have seen in a small French town about 
the year 1469. To the left, a low build- 
ing of which two sides are partly visible. This 
is the shop of the draper Guillaume Joceaulme, 
whose name is written in large Gothic letters over 
the heavy double door. Behind this shop, but 
separated from it by a lane, stands a dwelling 
whose roof rises from several gables to various 
peaks, joined by decorative ridges. A little further 
to the right, in the distant background, stands a 
church tower, skirted on the left by a narrow street 
which is lost to view among the houses that lean 
over it and straggle along its sides. In the fore- 
ground, half concealing the church tower, is a 



stone canopy, or market-cross, whose roof rises 
steeply to a stone tuft, like the finial of a cathedral 

In each of the four sides of this structure is a 
niche with a stone seat. The only seat visible will 
be occupied by the Judge during the trial scene. 
The whole canopy rests on masonry so disposed 
as to form six or seven steps on all four sides. 

In the foreground to the right 3 facing the shop 
of Guillaume, is a stone dwelling, and beyond it, 
in the background, are other buildings through 
which runs a street so narrow and tortuous that it 
is soon lost to view in an uncertain mass of houses 
which separate it from the church. 

In the foreground, between the market-cross 
and the Draper's shop, stands a short thick post 
on which rests a box with a slot in it to admit the 
GodVpennies of those who trade in the market- 

When the curtain rises on this Gothic scene 
the townsfolk are just beginning to bestir them- 
selves for the day's business and the glow of 
morning is visible over the housetops, though 
the light has not illuminated the crooked lanes. 
There are vague noises ; an apprentice opens the 
Draper's shop, brings out a table, and upon this 
counter he sets about arranging some of his 
master's goods in orderly piles. Presently Master 
Pierre Patelin emerges from the street to the left, 
[ xviii ] 


followed by his wife Guillemette. The lawyer is 
bent in meditation. As he slowly enters the mar- 
ket-place he begins to speak to Guillemette. 


A room in Patelin's house. In the left wall is 
a door opening on the street. Against the rear 
wall stands a bedstead with a tester whose curtains 
reach the floor and may be drawn so as to hide the 
bed completely. Near the bed and the door is 
a great armchair. In the wall to the right is a win- 
dow through which enters a rather dim light. Be- 
fore this window stands a heavy wooden table, 
very plain, and close to the table is an ordinary 
chair. Though the room looks tidy enough, 
everything about it bears witness to poverty. 

ACT: in 

The Draper's shop is closed; otherwise the 
same setting as for Act I. 

[ xix ] 


PA C TELIN belongs to a series of farces 
which had come mysteriously into being 
as early as 1277, when a little piece called 
tfbe Boy and the Blind Man was performed at 
Tournay.* Most of these farces have been lost, 
but the hundred and fifty or so that happen to 

* If not in 1277, at all events about that time. This tiny 
farce was discovered by M. Paul Meyer some forty years ago. 
Of the farces extant two score were found by some one rummag- 
ing in a Berlin attic about 1 840. The Boy and the Blind Man 
owes its preservation to the happy chance that some scribe saw 
fit to copy it at the end of a manuscript containing the Roman 
d* Akxandre. 

This farce is no shapeless embryo, but shows, on the contrary, 
that farce-makers must have been plying then* trade as early, at 
least, as 1250. The theme of The Boy and the Blind Man is 
picaresque. An urchin offers to lead a blind man, whose trust- 
fulness he rewards by robbery and violence ; but, like Moliere's 
Scapin, the boy contrives to make his victim believe that some 
third person is guilty. 

Two comic plays by Adam de la Hale belong to the same 
period, but they could scarcely be called farces. 

C xxi ] 


survive show clearly enough what must have been 
the character and range of alL 

The old farces breathe the scandal and mockery 
of their time. Seldom if ever do they rise to a 
height from which man can be seen in his relation 
to the world. They reek of a cold sensuality into 
which love never enters. They are nearly all de- 
void of the humour which accompanies a Moliere's 
insight into the weaknesses of man and the vagaries 
of society. Like most modern farces they deal 
with fads, rather than with the great movements 
of their time. No extant farce alludes unmistake- 
ably to Jeanne d'Arc : she belonged to an earlier 
age than that in which she was born ; but women 
with almost no redeeming quality abound, and 
are portrayed with a coarseness of feeling and an 
indelicacy of language for which occasional wit 
cannot atone. Graceful irony, irony like that of 
the Franc-archer de Bagnolet, is rare. There are no 
heroes and no heroines, no brave actions and no 
leaders ; but plenty of rogues and fools, whose guile 
and folly give rise to those situations which pica- 
resque literature swarms with and which had once 
delighted the makers of fabliaux. But these situa- 
tions are realistic, almost invariably, and modern. 
Whether the farces are base or not, we of the 
twentieth century should find it easier to talk 
with their authors than with the bards who two 


or three centuries earlier had sung of war and 

When the farces began to flourish., chivalry was 
rapidly going out of fashion ; the modern world of 
business and practical ideas was coming in ; the 
bourgeois had ousted the knight, and having money 
to spend, he spent it on purveyors who were ready 
to tell him about himself and his neighbours. The 
town-crier gave him some news, but that was not 
highly spiced ; real journalists were still unknown. 
At the theatre, and there only, could he get reflec- 
tions of life. It mattered little whether these 
reflections were false; whether they were due to 
sheer second-hand glimpses, so to speak, cast into 
disreputable corners, never resting on life's broad 
avenues ; he craved sensation, he liked heightened 
scenes based on contemporary gossip or contem- 
porary facts, flavoured with scandal, something 
credible but seemingly not commonplace. 

In the long-winded mysteries he could witness 
the spectacular performance of biblical scenes from 
the Creation to the Crucifixion, or of scenes de- 
rived from later history and legend. The miracle- 
plays manifested the power of Our Lady or of 
some saint, intervening in behalf of a medieval or 
earlier celebrity on the brink of perdition. In both 
these types thoroughly popular scenes abounded. 
Many specimens of the ' serious drama ' contain 
[ xxiii ] 


comic episodes, different, however, from those of 
the farces. In the Middle Ages the Devil in- 
spired terror, but he was also closely akin to the 
mountebank. Hence his presence on the medieval 
stage. Clad in skins of beasts, or in other fan- 
tastic garb, he and his imps performed antics both 
fearful and grotesque. 

The moralities were commonly didactic, and 
dealt, like Everyman, with abstractions, such as 
Gluttony and the five senses, Lust, Learning, 
or Better-than-before ; the sotties are mainly clap- 
trap satirical dialogues showing little or no plot 
and composed for clowns or sots y who enlivened 
their garrulous banter by performing acrobatic 
feats. These sotties were written in verse, but 
otherwise they closely resemble the medleys of 
dialogue, song, and gymnastics to be found now- 
adays at almost any music-hall. 

With the sotties and the moralities the farces 
have a great deal in common, so much, some- 
times, that one can hardly distinguish between 
them ; but the farces are generally more like life., 
and there are some reasons for believing that they 
were more popular.* In them the bourgeois saw 

* This Introduction merely glimpses into the history of medi- 
eval drama. Mr. E. K. Chambers has gathered an immense 
mass of information in his two volumes on The Medieval Stage, 
Oxford, 1903, and Mr. J. Mortensen's very readable book on 
[ xxiv ] 


images of his existence, and though the reflection 
of reality often resembles the distorted figures 
beheld in some old-fashioned mirror, never before 
had literature come so near to the facts of life in 
its homely phases. Like some modern reprobate 
who was flattered to find a grossly realistic carica- 
ture of himself in a comic paper, many a citizen 
of the fifteenth century, happening to find himself 
travestied in a farce, could have said, Get ignoble 
individuy cest moi ! The farces were, in fact, the 
only form of art that enabled him to witness house- 
hold or other familiar scenes, and little as the aver- 
age truth was like the theatrical representation, his 
enjoyment was immense. Through eye and ear 
he could relish depravity with nothing more than 
a mental participation in the sin. Here was an 
offset to the humdrum round. At church he could 
hear the parish priest chant psalms and pray for 
the cure of souls ; at the theatre he might catch 
him in merrier business, conniving with crafty 
housewives to gull their husbands, and sinning as 
often as he could get a chance to sin. Here foolish 
rich men were regularly bamboozled by sly c ga- 
lants ' ; merchants cheated and were cheated in their 
turn ; fools gave rein to their folly ; everybody was 
tempted and fell. The whole middle-class world, 

Le theatre fran$ais au moyen age, Paris, 1903, also deals with 


and sometimes nobles or churls, had an opportun- 
ity to be vividly ridiculous. 

In these old farces vice almost always gets the 
better of virtue; thinking is mostly scheming; love 
is mere feigning ; truth is boldly sacrificed to mirth., 
and mirth is the aim of all. No wonder that Bos- 
suet, finding the same old esprit gaulois alive in 
Moliere, called him an c infamous histrion/ Nor 
is it in the least astonishing that a parish priest, 
and later the Archbishop of Paris, refused to 
allow Moliere's body to be buried in consecrated 
ground. These ecclesiastics were merely keeping 
up a tradition which their predecessors had estab- 
lished when the farce-makers, indifferent as to the 
morality of their dramatis fersonae, were charged 
with undoing the work of the Church. There is, 
indeed, no reason to suppose that the old farces 
increased either piety or goodness, however much 
they may have amused their hearers and sharpened 
their wits. 

He who seeks to build a history of manners 
out of such material must be wary indeed; for 
the farces display a perverted interest in special 
aspects of vice and folly in the lower and middle 
classes, or their familiars, rather than in all con- 
temporary life. But they record the every-day 
language of their time. Without them to help 
us, we should not know a wide variety of oaths. 


slang, saws, superstitions, and so forth ; had the 
specimens that survive been lost, the habits and 
every-day thoughts of the fourteenth, fifteenth, 
and early sixteenth centuries would be even further 
beyond our ken than now. 

The old farces were always composed in octo- 
syllabic rime, are written in a conversational style, 
and they are never poetical. They are for the most 
part brief, not a third as long as Patelin. Some- 
times one finds a neatly constructed plot, and in- 
genious situations are not lacking ; but in general 
they are flimsily constructed and seem more like 
dramatised anecdotes than like true drama ; natural 
motives are too often absent, and their psychology 
is not so accurate as that which our modern farces 
commonly display, yet the dialogue is often lively 
and produces an adequate illusion. 

From what has been said it need not be sup- 
posed that shallowness was universal ; for Villon 
knew himself, at least, and embodied his wayward, 
passionate, will-less life in lyric verse which for 
vividness and sincerity surpasses all other lyric 
poetry written in his time or in the Middle Ages. 
He is the most gifted poet of the fifteenth cen- 
tury, as the author of Patelin is its most gifted 
dramatist. The historian Commines was another 
shrewd observer of his fellow men, and these are 
not all. Great, too, though the defects of the 
[ xxvii "I 


farces are, they show a keener appreciation of re- 
ality and a greater gift of natural expression than 
had been shown by any other form of medieval 
literature composed in France, save, perhaps, the 
realistic passages in certain nou-velles, in the c serious 
drama,' In Villon, and in Adam de la Hale. 

The farces must have arisen pretty early in the 
thirteenth century ; in the fourteenth century, and 
even till the middle of the fifteenth, they seem to 
have languished ; for farce-makers could not thrive 
amid war and waste. The relatively prosperous 
times that followed the Hundred Years' War were 
their Golden Age; but the Renaissance, with its 
Plautus and Terence, who for some twelve centu- 
ries had been preserved by monks more capable 
of copying manuscripts than of understanding 
them, brought new ideals. Playwrights began to 
forsake the market-place and the farces grew fewer 
and fewer, though the writing of them never wholly 
ceased. When they lost their hold, most of them 
perished ; hardly a manuscript is left, and only 
a few were chosen when the early printers began 
to search for entertaining matter amid the ruck of 
the Middle Ages. 

Patelin distinctly belongs to the genre^ but in 

every regard it excels all other extant farces. The 

author of this piece, whoever he may have been 

and wherever he may have lived, was a genius, and 

[ xxviii ] 


when he wrote it he was inspired. Remote as he 
must ever remain from us, we know that he was 
not remote from his own time. He catches its spirit 
and embodies that spirit in forms whose first words 
cast the spell of illusion which is essential to all 
dramatic art. 

Whether the author of Patelin cared deeply 
about morals is an unsolvable riddle. Michelet 
declares somewhere that Patelin is the c epic of 
an age of rogues ' ; unquestionably rogues are its 
heroes and their rascality is its theme. If that 
* practical ' monarch Louis XI * ever saw Patelin 
performed and nothing undemonstrable is more 
likely how keenly he must have relished its com- 
mon sense, its mirthful and remorseless roguery ! 
We may imagine his laughter as he saw one rascal 
outwit another, until a mere lout, a c sheep in cloth- 
ing/ outwits them all. That was something after his 
own heart. We need not regard the five worthies 
of our farce as disciples of Louis XI : they are 
more than that, for they express what is unloveable 
in that century more plainly than does the King. 
They represent in several distinct and ludicrous 
phases the poverty, the greed, the cynical cunning, 
the selfishness, and the grinning depravity charac- 
teristic of the fifteenth century, at least in France, 

* See Ernest Renan's essay on Patelin in his Essais de morale 
et de critique, 1859. 

[ xxix ] 


Patelln is a shabby pettifogger; his successful 
fellow barristers are arrayed, as he says, in silks 
and satins, de camelos . . . et de camocas ; but the 
apparel is nothing : the lawyers are mostly rogues. 
And so is our Judge : he cares little about dealing 
out justice and he invites Patelin to sup with him, 
though that lawyer has spent a Saturday in the 
stocks. The Draper is both greedy and sly ; the 
Shepherd is a numbskull with a highly developed 
bump of villainy. And what is Guillemette ? A 
receiver of stolen goods. Not one of these types 
has any sense of right. Their morality, as Renan 
says, is to succeed ; their greatest weakness, their 
only absurdity, is to be outdone. Philippe de 
Commines sums up their ethics in a maxim : 
c Ceulx qui gaignent,' says he, f en ont tousjours 

Patelin scored an immense success. It had two 
sequels, both worthless, and was often quoted. If 
that merry friar Guillaume Alexis is not the first to 
allude, by citation, to our farce, the earliest known 
record of it may be found in a legal document. 
This document, a grant of pardon issued by 
Louis XI before Easter, 1469, recites that one 
Jean de Costes, who had been employed in the 
King's chancellery, was drinking one day with sev- 
eral companions at an inn kept by Glaude Sillon 
at Tours. After supper Jean de Costes stretched 
[ xxx ] 


himself out on a bench by the fire, saying, c By God, 
I am ill I ' ; and, as the document tells us, he 
addressed these words to the wife of the aforesaid 
Glaude Sillon and said, f I would fain sleep here, 
and not go back to-day to my lodgings/ Here- 
upon the aforesaid Le Danceur [who seems to 
have started the quarrel in which he was killed] 
went and spoke to the aforesaid suppliant as 
follows : c Jehan de Costes, I know you well ; you 
fancy to play Patelin and to feign illness, because 
you are planning to sleep here ' (Jehan de Costes, 
je vous cognoys Men : vous cuidez pateliner et faire 
du malade^ pour cuider couch er ceans), 

In a short time the name Patelin had become 
proverbial and the Farce of Patelin had attained 
a vogue unparalleled in the history of the early 
stage and rarely equalled since. Of five edi- 
tions printed between 1485, or thereabouts, and 
1500, five unique exemplars are known to survive ; 
several other editions must have existed. Two or 
three editions published shortly after 1500 are also 
represented by only one exemplar ; at least a score 
appeared during the sixteenth century, and the 
popularity of our farce scarcely waned till French 
playwrights began, as we have seen, to be ashamed 
of what had once delighted the common folk, 
and set learnedly about imitating Roman comedy ; 
but the esprit gaulois could not be quelled, and 
[ xxxi ] 


we find it once more, more vigorous than ever and 
lifted out of its wallow of lubricity, though not 
yet angelically pure, in the comedies of Moliere, 

Patelin is not the starting-point of any school, 
but it would be a long task to narrate the history 
of its influence on literature in and out of France. 
Some of its phrases are used by Guillaume Alexis, 
Coquillart, and others. In 1560 Estienne Pas- 
quier, having read and reread this < sample ' of the 
old farces, declared it equal to any Greek, Latin, 
or Italian comedy. Marot had no doubt read it, 
and Rabelais quotes it again and again. He speaks 
of the c noble Patelin/ who was evidently a rascal 
after his own heart, and we may be sure that Ra- 
belais's famous scene between Panurge and Panta- 
gruel was inspired by Patelin. c Epistemon said, 
" Parlez vous Christian, mon ami, ou langaige pate- 
linois?"' (11,9.) 

It was not Rabelais, however, who first carried 
Patelin's fame across the Channel ; for not later 
than 1535, and probably ten years earlier, A Hun- 
dred Mery 'Tales and Quiche Answers contained 
an anecdote c Of hym that payde his dette with 
crienge bea.'* In 1700 a dull dramatist named 
Brueys composed, or, to speak more descriptively, 
he manufactured his Patelin, comtdie, compos'ee en 
trois actes, avec un prologue, et trois intermedes, 
* See Notes on the Text, Note xxxv. 
[ xxxii ] 


mestts de declamations y de chants et de dames : Et 
represent^ four la premiere fois sans Prologue &? 
sans interm^des le 4. Juin 1706.* 

Had Monsieur de Brueys been born a humorist, 
he would either have written better comedies, or 
none. With Palaprat's assistance, the abbe pleased 
for a while ; that is the best that can be said for 
him. Brueys and his contemporaries liked literary 
monsters. They borrowed and muddled, very 
much as the compilers of mysteries had done 
in the Middle Ages. Unfailingly commonplace, 
Brueys tells his readers that he had culled from the 
old farce as one might gather gold from a dung- 
hill. We need not wonder that the abbe decor- 
ated his comedy with a Prologue wherein some 
worn-out deities air his theories of the drama. Yet 
Brueys's hybrid succeeded, and gave birth in its 
turn, contra naturam^ to The Village Lawyer ', the 
second version of Patelin to be made in England. 

This curtain-raiser, ascribed without evidence 
to the elder Macready,t was performed at The 
Hay market in 1787. ^be Village Lawyer, whose 
hero is called not Patelin but Scout, was printed 

* See UAvocat Patdin. Translated by S. F. G. Whitaker, 
London, 1905 ; reviewed in The Evening Post, New York, 
June 12, 1905, and in The Athenaeum, London, August 26, 

f See the Dictionary of National Biography, vol. xxxv, p. 277. 
[ xxxiii ] 


at Dublin in 1792, having been received, so the 
title-page declares, with c Universal Applause ' in 
London and in Dublin. 

Was this little piece published, without regard 
for its author, from one of those unsigned manu- 
scripts which actors use ? Or is it possible that the 
author had a scrupulous conscience ? Whatever 
the truth may be, tfhe Village Lawyer is by no 
means so absurd as Brueys's hotchpotch of 
modernised medieval folk and pseudo-antique 

tfhe Village Lawyer was performed at the Park 
Theatre, in New York City, in November, 1801, 
and again in 1808. The elder Jefferson (1774- 
1 832,) * played the part of Sheepface, who is merely 
Thibaut Agnelet (or f Lambkin '), in his second 
reincarnation. In 1863 one James Maffitt, a pirate 
by nature, but a playwright by trade, on some 
marauding voyage, fell upon ^fke Village Law- 
yer. Mrs. Scout and her daughter Kate, being 
no longer useful, were made to walk the plank. 
Scout, known in other days as Master Pierre 
Patelin, or Lawyer Patelin, became Benjamin 
Hardcrust. Maffitt was thus rid of any necessity 
of seeing Kate wedded to Charles, the son of 

* Jefferson left England about 1795. Probably he included 
he Village Lawyer in his repertory because it was still popu- 

[ xxxiv ] 


Snarl (Brueys's Guillaume), and he needed no 
more than a week or so to shear the legal epi- 
sode out of The Village Lawyer. 

The Mutton Trial* for thus Maffitt named 
his plagiary, was performed by four members of 
a troop of minstrels, at the American Theatre, 
a New York playhouse, in 1863. The cast of 
characters was as follows : 

SHEEPFACE, a Shepherd .... Charles White 
BENJ. HARDCRUST, a Lawyer . . Nelse Seymour 
OLD SNARL, a Farmer .... Billy Burke 
JUSTICE . James Wambdd 

These four actors were probably blackened to 
look like negroes, and perhaps they remained so 
throughout the long and varied performance in 
which tfbe Mutton Trial w&s but an interlude last- 
ing c twenty minutes/ That they imitated negro 
manners or negro speech is inconceivable. 

A notion as to the quality of Maffitt's style may 

* The Mutton Trial \ An Ethiopian Sketch, in Two Scenes \ 
By James Maffitt \ Arranged by Charles White \ The Cele- 
brated Ethiopian Comedian \ Author of \ Magic Penny \ Jolly 
Millers [here follows a list of two score pieces] etc., etc. | As 
first Produced at the American Theatre, No. 444 Broadway j 
New York \ etc. , etc. A copy of this rare farce, whose exist- 
ence was made known to me by Mr. Brander Matthews, is 
preserved at the Library of Congress, where it was deposited 
to obtain copyright in 1874. 

[ XXXV ] 


be derived from the following citations. c Well/ 
says Hardcrust, c here I am. Lawyer Hardcrust, 
with scarcely enough money in my clothes to buy 
a meal of victuals/ And on advising Sheepface 
how to outwit the law, Hardcrust speaks as fol- 
lows : c Well, now understand my plan. Any ques- 
tion asked you by the Judge, the Court (sic} 9 or 
the jury (sic\ you must answer it in the language 
of the old ewes when they call theijr young/ As in 
The Village Lawyer -, Sheepface responds, c That is 
my mother tongue/ In The Village Lawyer -, when 
Scout attempts to collect his fee but gets nothing 
save baa!, he cries out angrily, c What, again! 
braved by a Mongril Cur, a bleating Bellweather, 
a ' ; in the American piece Hardcrust exclaims, 
c What ! am I to be outwitted by a country weth- 
erbull ! ' Further examples from Maffitt's plagiary 
would only serve to show that the original Patelin, 
cheapened by Brueys, and afterwards by an un- 
known British hack, fell almost to the level of 
a buffoon, on his third and final reincarnation. 

To retell a long story in few words, the farce of 
Patelin came into being in France before 1469, and 
assuredly it owes nothing to the story of Mak, the 
Thief in what is called 'The Shepherds' Play/ in 
the Towneley Mysteries ; its origin is lost in the 
same darkness as envelops its author. Patelin is 
[ xxxvi ] 


wholly French and wholly medieval ; it alludes to 
nothing c classic/ and has nothing whatever to do 
with ancient comedy. Its popularity was immense ; 
by 1520 it had been freely translated into Latin by 
Connibert ; by 1 53 5 it was known in England (per- 
haps, too, in Germany) ; about 1787 some name- 
less British playwright borrowed or stole from 
Brueys's hotchpotch (1700) all the plot and many 
details of ^he Tillage Lawyer ; about 1863 James 
Maffitt plundered The Village Lawyer and called 
his booty 'The Mutton ^rial; this final version of 
Patelin was performed by c Ethiopian ' minstrels 
in New York City, some four centuries after the 
original farce had first appeared in France. 

No other farce written in the Middle Ages, and 
naturally no later comedy, can claim so long and 
varied a history ; yet in a mere sketch not half that 
history can be told, but the popularity of this farce 
is no puzzle: its author hit upon an extraordin- 
arily clever plot,* and, unlike his contemporaries, 

* This plot, like most others, was doubtless not * created. ' 
As early as 1370, or thereabouts, Eustache Deschamps had 
composed the so-called Farce de Mestre Trubert, a dramatic 
satire aimed at pettifoggers, or, one might say, at lawyers in gen- 
eral ; for the Bar was in ill repute throughout the Middle Ages. 

Trabert is hoodwinked by his client Entroignart ( = Cheat- 
em) , who asks his advice about the theft of an almond, a trifling 
fact that had led to serious consequences. Having got his re- 
tainer, Trubert, not altogether unlike Patelin, proceeds to enumer- 
[ xxxvii ] 


he had the genius to tell his fable dramatically in 
charming verse. Like a precocious child that has 
aroused laughter by some show of wit, he repeats 
his jests until they begin to stale ; but his insight is 
keen, and his characters are drawn so firmly that 
each is a type, possible in nature, but nowhere else 
to be found in literature. Although close examin- 
ation reveals more than one inconsistency, the 
illusion that he creates betokens a rare imaginative 
power, a clear vision, and so objective a portrayal 
of that vision that the author nowhere gives 
a genuine clue as to his own personality. We may 
agree with Renan in thinking the author of Pat elm 
a low and heartless jester; but he betrays nothing, 
except, perhaps, a tendency to delight us with 
humour wantonly cruel ; he is not a moraliser but 
a dramatist, and the best dramas are surely those 
that seem to tell the most about other men and 
the least about their authors. 

ate some of the many wiles by which he knows how to evade 
the law. He then suggests a game of dice which results in his 
losing his money and his clothes. Similar stories about the Bar 
were popular, and it is likely that the author of Pate tin, perhaps 
himself a lawyer, built his legal episode on a like anecdote, and 
that he welded it to the story of some scalawag who had cheated 
a creditor by shamming illness or insanity, a frequent occurrence 
in real life. See vol. vn, pp. 155174, and vol. xi, pp. 293 
and 294, of the works of Deschamps, in the edition published 
by the Societe des Anciens Textes franais. 
[ xxxviii ] 



Master Pierre Patelin 

(At Lawyer Pateliris dwelling) 


Master Pierre begins 

BY Saint Mary ! Guillemette, for all my 
pains to pick up something, or bag a little 
pelf, not a penny can we save. Now, I 
have seen the time when I had clients. 


Aye, true enough ! I was thinking of the tune 
your lawfolk are warbling. No, you are not 
thought so able by any manner of means as you 
used to be. I Ve seen the day when everybody 
must have you to win his suit ; now you 're called 
everywhere the Briefless Barrister. 


Patelin [as if he had not heard~\ 
Again, I don't say it to brag, but in the circuit 
where we hold our sessions there 's no one abler, 
except the Mayor. 

Guillemette [naively] 

Aye, but he has read the Conjuring-book, and 
he studied a great while to be a scholar. 


Whose case ever lags, if I set hand to it ? And 
yet I never learnt my letters, save a little, but I'll 
venture to say that I can chant by the book with 
our priest as well as if I 'd been as long in school 
as Charlemaine in Spain ! 


What is that worth to us ? Not a rap ! We 're 
all but starved ; our clothes are downright sieves, 
and there 's no telling where new ones are to come 
from. Ha ! a fig for all you know ! 


Tush, tush ! Upon my conscience, if I care to 

set my wits at work, I shall find a way to get some 

finery. Please God, we shall see better days and 

be up again in no time. Oh, God's deed is done 



with speed. If it behooves me to stick to business, 
they '11 not be able to find my peer. 


Aye, that they will not ! At cheating you 're 
a masterhand. 

At regular law ! by the Lord who made rne 1 


Upon my word, at gulling, you mean. Oh, 
I know what I am talking about ; for, to tell the 
truth, though you Ve neither education nor com- 
mon sense, you are reckoned about the greatest 
slyboots in the whole parish. 

Nobody is so good at handling cases. 


Heaven save me ! You mean at plucking gulls. 
They say so anyhow. 


So they do of those who sport their silks and 
satins, and talk of being barristers ; but they 're 
not ! Enough of this prattle : I 'm going to 



Guillemette [astonished] 
To market? 

Pat elm [mimicking her] 

Yes, to market, my gentle pricer. Now, what 
if I buy a strip of cloth, or some other trifle for 
household use ? . . . Our clothes are nothing but 

You have n't a copper. What can you do there ? 

Patelin [laying his forefinger on his nose and 
winking craftily] 

That 's telling ! If I fail, my dear, to fetch you 
cloth enough for both of us, and to spare, then 
1 7 m a fibber ! [Playfully surveying Guillemette] 
What colour suits you best ? A greenish grey ? 
Or Brussels cloth? Or some other sort? Tell 
me that. 


Whatever you can get. Borrowers must not be 

Patelin [counting on his fingers] 

For you, two ells and a half, and for me, three, 
or rather, four. That makes . . . 



Patclm, counting on Msfngers 



Who the mischief will trust you with this cloth ? 
You are counting your chickens before they 're 


What do you care ? They '11 trust me, beyond 
a doubt, and be paid on Doomsday ; for it 
won't be sooner. 


Go along, my lamb ; by now somebody else 
may have it on. 

Patelin \_almost to himself y as he walks slowly away"] 

I will buy either grey or green, and for an un- 
dergarment, Guillemette, I want three quarters, or 
a whole ell of fine dark goods. 

Guillemette [shaking her head'] 

God help me ! so you do. Be off with you ! 
[Calling^ as he disappears.'] And don't forget your 
dram, if you can come by it for nothing ! 


Take care of everything ! [JE#*/.] 



Guillemette [giving vent to her excitement with an 

exclamation half oath, half sigh"} 
What merchant . . . ? [Brightening.'} If he 
only might be stark blind ! 

(At the shop of Guillaume Joceaulme, Draper) 


Patelin [peering into the Draper's shop} 
Not there ? . . . I have my doubts. . . . Aye, 
by Saint Mary, so he is. He 's fussing with his 
goods. [While Patelin is reconnoitring^ the Draper 
emerges and lays several rolls of goods on his counter, 
^hen, on looking up, he spies the Lawyer , who greets 
him with a beguiling smiled} My worthy sir, God 
bless you ! 

Guillaume Joceaulme, Draper 
And give you joy ! 

Patelin [leaning his hands on the counter} 
I have been really longing to see you, Guil- 
laume, How is your health? You 're feeling tip- 
top, eh? 



Aye, that I am ! 

Patelin [holding out his hand'] 
Here ! your fist ! How goes it with you ? 


Why, first rate, really and yours to command. 
.... And how are you ? 

Patelin [giving the Draper a friendly clap on the 

By the Apostle Saint Peter, your humble serv- 
ant is as happy as a lark ... So you 're feeling 
merry, eh ? 

The Draper 

To be sure. But merchants, you must know, 
can't always have their way. 


How is business ? It yields enough, I trust, to 
keep the pot a-boiling ? 

The Draper 

Afore Heaven, my good sir, I scarcely know. 
[Imitating the cluck of a driver to his horse."] It's 
always gee up ! go along ! [He sighs."] 


Patelin \in a reminiscent revery] 
Ah, he was a knowing man I your father was, 
I mean. God rest his soul ! [Scanning the Draper 
with amazement.~\ When I look at you, I can't 
believe I 'm not looking at him ! What a good 
merchant he was ! and clever ? . . . \Wamng his 
hand in such a way as to suggest the almost limitless 
ability of the elder Joceaulme.~\ I swear, your face is 
as like his as a regular painting. ... If God ever 
took pity on any being, may he grant your father 
his soul's pardon ! [fakes off his hat and glances 
piously toward heaven. The Draper follows suit."] 

The Draper \_sanc timoniously\ 

Amen ! Through his mercy ! And ours, too, 
when it shall please him ! [Both replace their hats."] 

Patelin \with a touch of melancholy^ 

My faith ! Many a time and most copiously he 
foretold me the days that we are come to. Again 
and again the memory has come back to me. 
\_After a slight paused] Then, too, he was deemed 
one of the good . . . 

The Draper \interrupting Patelirfs reminiscences by 
offering him a seat] 

Do sit down, sir. It 's high time I asked you 
to \self -reproachful^ , but it was just like me to forget. 

c ] 


Patelin [as if anything concerning his own welfare 
were of no importance] 

Tut, tut, man ! I'm comfortable. . . . He used 
to ... \_Another interruption by the Draper , who, 
in bis zeal to show good manners to a prospective 
customer , leans over bis counter as far as he can, 
grasps Patelin by the shoulders^ and endeavours to 
force him to sit downl\ 

Now, really you must be seated. 

Patelin [yielding] 

Gladly. \_A short pause y after which Patelin 
blithely resumes bis yarn. ~\ Oh, you shall see what 
wonders he told me ! ... I '11 take my oath ! in 
ears, nose, mouth, eyes, no child was ever so 
like his father. [Pointing^] That dimpled chin ! 
Why, it's you to a dot! And if anybody told 
your mother that you were not your father's son, 
he *d be hard up for a quarrel. I really cannot 
imagine how ever Nature among her works made 
two so similar faces. Each marked like the other ! 
Why look ! If you had both been spat against a 
wall in the self-same manner and in one array, you 
would n't differ by a hair. But, sir, good Lauren tia, 
your step-aunt, is she still living? 


The Draper [mystified^ 
Of course she is. 

Patelin [rising] 

How comely she seemed to me, and tall, and 
straight, and full of graces ! . . . Od's dear mother ! 
you take after her in figure, as if they had copied 
her in snow. No family hereabouts, I think, comes 
up to yours for likenesses. The more I see you, 
. . . Bless my soul ! [Pointing to a mirror I\ 
Look at yourself. You 're looking at your father ! 
[Clapping Joceaulme on the back with jovial famil- 
iarity^ You resemble him closer than a drop of 
water, I '11 be bound ! . . * What a mettlesome 
blade he was ! the worthy man, and entrusted 
his wares to whoever wished them. Heaven for- 
give him ! He always used to laugh so heartily 
with me. Would to God the worst man in the 
world resembled him ! There 'd be no robbery 
or stealing, as there is. [Feeling a piece of clotb.~\ 
How well made this cloth is ! how smooth it is, 
and soft, and nicely fashioned ! 

fhe Draper \J>roudly\ 

I had it made to order from the wool of my 
own flock. 

Patelin [overflowing with admiration^ 
You don't say so ! What a manager you are ! 

[13 3 


[Jocularly.'] It J s the pater all over again. Blood 
will tell ! . . [Awes truck. ~] You are always, 
always busy, 

The Draper [solemnly] 

Why not ? To live, a body must be careful and 
put up with trials. [He looks at Patelin^ who nods 

Patelin [handling another piece of goods'] 
Was this one dyed in the wool ? It 's as strong 
as Cordovan leather. 

"The Draper [showing off the weave of bis goods'] 
That is good cloth of Rouen make, and well 
fulled, I promise you. 


Now, upon my word, that *s caught me ; for I 
had no thought of getting cloth, when I came ; by 
George, I had n't. I 'd laid aside some four score 
crowns for an investment; but twenty or thirty of 
them will fall to you ; I see that plainly, for the 
colour is so pleasing it gives me an ache. [Sighs 3 
as if feeling a rapture akin to pain.~] 

Draper [eagerly] 
Crowns, you say? Now can it be that your 
borrowers would take an odd sum ? 

comment^ fcap efiettcfj etE 


ceff j^uer par fa 

Jjf *i too much I 



Why, yes, if I chose. It 's no odds to me what 
sort of money 's paid. [Picking up the cloth again. ~] 
What kind of goods is this ? . . . Really, the more 
I see it, the worse I dote. I must have a coat of 
that, to be brief, and another for my wife, as 

The Draper 

Cloth costs like holy oil. You shall have some, 
if you like. Ten or twenty francs are sunk so 
quickly ! 


I don't care : give me my money's worth, 
\_Whispering in the Draper's earJ] I know of an- 
other coin or two that nobody ever got a smell of. 

Now you 're talking ! That would be capital ! 


In a word, I 'm hot for this piece, and have 
some I must. 


Well then, first you must make up your mind 
how much you want. To begin with, though you 
had n't a brass farthing, the whole pile is at your 

C 16 ] 


Patelin [gazing rather absent-mindedly at the cloth~\ 
I know that well, thank you. 

tfbe Draper 

You might like some of this sky-coloured 


First, how much is a single ell to cost? \_On 
saying this y Patelin holds up a penny so that the 
Draper may get a good look at /"/.] Here Is a penny 
to seal the bargain in God's name; God's share 
shall be paid first : that stands to reason, and let 
us do nothing without calling him to witness. 
[Piously doffs his hat, strides solemnly to a box set up 
in the market-place for receiving God's pennies, drops 
the coin in y and returns to the Draper ^\ 

The Draper 

Upon my word, you speak like a g o o d man, 
and I 'm glad to hear you. Shall I set the very 
lowest price ? 


tfhe Draper [decisively} 
It will cost you four and twenty pence an elL 


Go to! Four and twenty pence! 
Heaven, save the mark ! 

[ 17 ] 


The Draper [laying Ms hand on his heart] 
By this soul ! it cost me every whit of that, and 
I must lose nothing by the sale. 

Excuse me! it's too much. 

The Draper 

You'd never believe how cloth has risen ! This 
winter the live-stock all perished in the great frost 

Twenty pence ! twenty pence ! 

The Draper 

And I swear I will have my price. Wait till 
Saturday and you shall see what it J s worth. Wool 
on the fleece, of which there used to be a plenty, 
cost me on Saint Maudeleyne's day eight good 
blanks, my oath on it, for wool I once got 
for half as much. 


Od's blood ! Then I will buy, without further 
haggling. Come, measure off! 

The Draper 

And pray how much must you have ? 
[ 18 ] 


That is easy to answer. What is the width ? 

The Draper 
Brussels width. 

Patelin [as if to himself \ and cocking his head with- 
out looking at the Draper. On saying c she 'j 
tall} he makes a gesture as if he were laying 
his hand on the head of an imaginary Guille- 

For m e, three ells, and for her (she 's tall), 
two and a half. In all, six ells . . . Why, no it 
is n't ! What a dunce I am ! 

There wants but half an ell to make the six. 


Give me the even six, then. I need a hat as 

Draper [pointing to the other end of his strip 
of doth'] 

Take hold there. We '11 measure. Here they 
are, and no scrimping. [He measures^] One, . . . 
and two, . . . and three, . . . and four, . . . and five, 
. . . and six ! 



Saint Peter's paunch ! Measured fair and 
square ! 

The Draper [looking at Patelin^ then turning his 

ell in the other direction. Naively] 
Shall I measure back again ? 

Patetin [with cheerful disdain] 

Oh, h no ! In selling goods there's always 

a little gain or loss. How much does it all amount 

The Draper 

Let us see. At four and twenty pence, each, 
for the six ells, nine francs. 

Patelin [aside] 
Hm! Here goes! \jfotheDraper.~] Six crowns? 

The Draper 
So help me! Yes. 


Now, sir, will you trust me for them ? . . until 
anon, when you come ? \T*he Draper shows symp- 
toms of suspicion."] Nay, c trust' is not the word, 
for you shall get your crowns at my door, in gold, 
or, if you like, in change. 

[ 20] 


Draper [ungraciously] 
Oh thunder ! that 's off my road. 

Patelin [with playful irony] 
By my lord" Saint Giles, now you "re telling 
gospel truth ! Off your road ! That 's It ! You 
are never ready to drink at my house, but this is 
the time you shall. 

The Draper 

Good Lord ! I scarcely do any thing but drink ! 
[After a moment's hesitation."] I '11 come, but let 
me tell you it 's bad policy to give credit on a first 


What if I pay for it, not in silver or copper, 
but in good yellow coin ? \Craftily '.] Oho ! and 
you must have a bite of that goose my wife is 
roasting ! 

tfhe Draper \aside\ 

The man drives me mad. \AloudI\ Go on ! 
Away ! I will follow you then, and bring the 

Patelin \nimbly seizing the bundle of goods'] 
Nothing of the sort ! How will it burden me ? 
Not a whit, beneath my elbow . . so. 



I'be Draper \trying to recover Us property^ 

No, indeed, sir ! it would look better for me to 
bring it. 

Patelin [tucking the cloth into his long gown] 
I '11 be hanged if you go to such pains ! See 
how snug it lies, here, under my elbow. What 
a jolly hump it will give me ! Ah! now it's all 
right ! \W~ith mock hilarity. ,] We '11 have a fling 
before you leave. 

'The Draper 

I beg you, hand over my money as soon as I 've 



I will that, and by gracious I '11 see to it you 
eat heartily. I 'd be sorry to have anything about 
me to pay with now. \Very archly I\ At least you 
will come and try my wine. When your late 
father went by my house he used to sing out, 
c Hullo, old pal ! ', or, c What 's the good word?', 
or, c How do you do ? ' But you don't care a straw 
for poor folk, you rich men ! 

Draper \Jlattered but deprecatory] 
Oh, now, I say ! it 's we who are poorer . 



Patelin [laughing incredulously"] 
Whew ! Well, good-bye, good-bye ! Turn 
up soon where I told you, and we '11 have a good 
drink, you can count on that. 

The Draper 

I '11 do so. Go ahead, then, and see that I get 
gold ! [Patelin starts homeward.'] 

(In the market-place] 


Gold! To think of it! Gold! The devil! I 
hit the nail on the head that time ! [Overcome 
by a sense of immense absurdity.'] No ! gold ! I 'd 
see him hanged. [Chuckling."] Pshaw ! He sold to 
me not at my price, but at his own ; he shall be 
paid, however, at mine. He must have gold ; he 
shall get it in the sweet bye and bye! Would 
he might run without stopping till he is paid! 
By Saint John, he'd travel further than from 
here to Pampeluna ! {Enters an alley and disap- 

C 23 ] 



(At the Draper's shop) 

The Draper. 

Those crowns he 's going to pay me shaVt 
get a peep at sun or moon this year, unless they 're 
stolen from me. It takes two to make a bargain. 
That trickster is a big gull to buy at four and 
twenty pence an ell cloth not worth twenty ! 


(At Patelin' s. Guillemette is sitting near the window 
and facing it, so as to get all the light that en- 
ters through its small and somewhat murky 
fanes. On her lap lies a garment which she is 
patching. Presently the door is softly opened 
and Patelin looks in. Seeing that Guillemette' s 
back is turned, and that she is unaware of his 
presence, he steals toward her, grinning as he 
thinks what a surprise she is about to get. 
Suddenly, when he is quite close, she hears him 
and turns round with a start. hen Patelin 
begins to speak, archly and in a tone of triumph. 



Have I some? 

Guillemette \startlea\ 
Some what ? 

What ever became of that old gown of yours ? 


Much need there is of telling ! What will you 
do with it ? 


Nothing! nothing! Have I some? .... 
I told you so ! Is this the cloth ? [He whips the 
roll of goods from under his gown and flaunts it in 
the face of the astounded Guillemette^ 


Holy Mother ! Now, as I hope to live, whose 
chest did that come from ? \A little frightenedl\ 
Heaven! what scrape have we got into now? 
Dear ! dear ! and who 's to pay for it ? 

Who, you ask ? By Saint John, it 's paid for. 


The chap who sold me that is n't crazy, my pet, oh, 
no ! May I be hanged by the neck if he 's not 
well fleeced. The rascally curmudgeon has caught 
it across the bum. 

But how much is it to cost ? 


Cost? Nothing! it's paid for. No need of 
fretting over that. 

Paid for? How? You hadn't a farthing. 

Oh yes, I had. I had a penny. 

Guillemette \ironically\ 

Oh, very fine ! Fie ! You swore to pay, or you 
gave a note of hand. That is how you came by it ! 
And when the note falls due they '11 come and 
seize our things and carry off everything we own. 

Patelin [reassuringly] 
Upon my word, I gave but a penny for it all. 

Benedicite Maria ! A penny ? Impossible ! 


Patelin [leaning toward her\ 
You may pluck out this eye, if he got more, or 
if he gets more, bawl though he may. 

But who is he, anyhow ? 


A numbskull called Guillaume, whose surname 
is Joceaulme ; since you must know. 


But how came you to get it for a penny ? What 
was your game ? 


It was for God's-penny ; and yet, had I said, 
f Let 's bind the bargain with a drink,' I 'd have 
kept my penny. Anyhow, 'twas well worked. 
God and he shall share that penny, if they care 
to ; for it is all they shall get, no matter how 
they carry on. 


How came he to trust you ? he 's such a surly 


Dash me if I did n't make him out such a noble 
lord that he almost gave it me. I told him what 


a jewel his late father was. ' Ah, brother/ says I, 
*what good stock you come of! No family here- 
abouts/ says I, c compares with yours for virtues/ 
but drat me ! what riff-raff! The most ill-tempered 
rabble, I suppose, in all this kingdom. < Guil- 
laume, my friend/ says I, c what a likeness you 
do bear your good father ! and in every feature ! ' 
God wot how I heaped it on ! And meanwhile 
I interlarded something about woollens. c And 
then/ says I, ( heavens ! how kind he was about 
trusting folks with his wares ! and so meekly ! 
You 're he/ says I, c his spitten image ! ' Yet you 
might have hauled the teeth out of that rascally 
old porpoise, his late father, or his monkey of a 
son, before they 'd trust a fellow with as much as 
that ! [snaps his finger $\ or even be polite. Any- 
how, I made such an ado and talked so much that 
he trusted me with six ells. 

Yes, and he '11 never get them back. 

Patelin [derisively] 
Get them back ? He J I1 get the devil back ! 

Guillemette [suggesting by mimicry the action in the 

fable of the Fox and the Crow\ 
I call to mind the fable of the Crow that had 


perched on a cross, some ten or twelve yards high. 
In his beak he was holding a cheese. A Fox 
strolled along that way and spied the cheese. 
Thought he to himself, c Now, how am I going 
to get it ? * Then he stood beneath the Crow. 
c Ah,' says he, 'how handsome you are! and 
your song is so full of melody ! ' The Crow, like 
a fool, hearing such praises of his voice, opened 
his beak to sing. Down dropped the cheese, and 
in a trice Master Renard had it tight between his 
teeth and off he went ! That, I '11 wager, is what 
happened to this cloth. You wheedled him out of 
it, just as Renard got the cheese. 


He is coming to eat some goose, on a wild 
goose chase, I mean. Now here 's our game. Of 
course he will be braying to get money on the 
spot ; so I Ve hatched out a nice arrangement. 
I '11 simply lie on my bed, and play sick ; then., 
when he comes, you will say, c Oh, do speak low !* 
Then you must groan and pull a long face. 
'Alas!' (you'll say) c he fell sick these two 
months past,' or say six weeks, and if he 
cries, c That 's all flim-flam, for he has just been 
at my shop/ you must say, c Alas ! this is no 
time to romp ! * Then let me pipe him a little 
tune, for music is all he shall get. 



Trust me to play the game, but if you slip 
up again, you may smart for it : I bet you '11 catch 
it a good bit worse than the other time. 


Hush now ! I know what I 'm about. We must 
both do as I say. 


For goodness sake remember that Saturday they 
put you in the stocks ! You know how every 
one jeered at you for your trickery. 


Do stop your chatter : he '11 be here before 
we know it. That cloth must stay with us [bid- 
ing it under the mattress} . Now I 'm going to 

Guillemette {laughing at bis burlesque preparations'] 
Go ahead ! 

Patelin [under the bedclothes] 
No laughing, now ! 

Guillemette \_as sbe draws the bedcurtains together] 
Well, rather not ! I '11 shed hot tears. 
[ 30 ] 



We must stand fast, now. No flinching, or he 11 
see what 's up. 

(At the Draper's shop) 

The Draper 

I must have a parting drink. Why no., I won't ! 
for, by Saint Mat., I shall have some wine with 
Master Pierre Patelin,and a bit of his goose. And 
there I J m to receive some funds. I 'm in for some 
plum, there, at the very least, and at no expense ! 
There is no use in staying here ; for I can make 
no further sales. [Leaves his shop; knocks on 
Patelin' s door.~\ Hello ! Master Pierre! 

(At Patelin' s) 



Guillemette \opening the door a chink and laying her 

fnger on her lip$\ 

Oh, sir, if you have anything to say, for mercy's 
sake speak lower ! 

be Draper 
God keep you, mis'ess ! 

Oh, not so loud ! 

'The Draper ^astonished and puzzled~\ 
Huh ? What is the matter ? 

Guillemette [feigning amazement] 
Bless my soul ! 

he Draper 
Where is he ? 

Alas ! Where should he be ? 

The . . . Who? 


Ah, sir, how unkind ! Where is he ? May God 
in his mercy know ! He has lain on the very same 
spot, poor martyr, without budging, for eleven 


T-4 Draper visits Patelin 


The Draper \jtaring open-mouthed~\ 
Who 's this ? 

Guillemette [whispering in the Draper's ear] 
Excuse me : I dare not raise my voice. I be- 
lieve he is resting. He is a little drowsy. Alas I 
he *s so done up, poor man ! 

The Draper [in amazement] 

Master Pierre. 

Draper [indignantly] 

Whew ! And did n't he come to purchase six 
ells of cloth, right now ? 

Who? He? 

The Draper 

He came from my shop not half a quarter of an 
hour ago. Hurry ! I am wasting time. Come ! 
No more fooling ! My money ! 

Oh, no joking! This is no time for jokes. 

^he Draper [waving his arms] 

Here ! My money ! Are you crazy ? I want 
nine francs. 

[ 34 ] 



Oh Guillaume ! It 's no time for gammon, nor 
for making light of us. Go along and trifle with 
your simpletons, if you 're out for a lark. 

Draper [angrily] 
I '11 have nine francs, or I '11 be damned ! 

Guillemette [trying to keep from laughing, while she 
wipes away imaginary tears] 

Oh dear ! sir, not everybody is so fond of laugh- 
ter and clap-trap as you are. 

Draper [beseechingly] 

I say ; please, np kidding ; do fetch me Master 

Bad luck to you ! What ? To-day ? 

Draper [gesticulating angrily] 
Is n't this place, here, where I am, in the house 
of Master Pierre Patelin ? 


Yes ! And may they stick you into bedlam 1 
[crossing herself] but not me ! Sh ! 


The Draper 

The devil and all ! \Waxing sarcastic!] Have 
I no right to ask ? 

Guillemette \crossing herself again, as if the devil 
might really appear ; then laying her fingers on 
her lips and glancing mysteriously toward Pate- 
Ms hiding-place'] 

God bless my soul ! Sh ! Lower, if you wish 
him to stay asleep ! 

Draper \jvery satirical^ 
Lower ? How c lower * ? Shall I whisper it 
down in your ear ? at the bottom of the well ? or 
of the cellar? 


My goodness ! What a babbler you are ! Any- 
how, that is always the way with you. 

Draper \in petulant protestation] 
Damn it all ! Now, let me tell you, if you ex- 
pect me to whisper .... [Angrily."] Say now ! As 
for such wrangling, I 'm not used to it. {Bearing 
on each word!] The truth is that Master Pierre 
took six ells of cloth to-day. 

Guillemette \shrilly\ 

Huh? Oh, come! To-day? Well, I never! 
[ 36 ] 


Look here, now ! Took what ? . . . Hang me, 
if it is n't the sober truth ! He is in such a plight, 
poor man, that he has n't left his bed for eleven 
weeks I believe you are making sport of us. 
Now, is there any reason in it ? Law now ! you 
clear out of my house ! \Wringing her bands.] Oh 
dear ! oh dear ! 

^be Draper 

You were telling me to speak so low ! Holy 
Mother ! you are shrieking ! 

Guillemette [almost in a whisper\ 
Upon my soul, it is you who are making all the 
noise ! 

tfhe Draper 
Look here ! I must be off. Hand over . . . 

Guillemette {forgetting herself and letting her voice 

rise to a high key] 
Sh ! Speak low, will you ! 


But it 's you who '11 rouse him ! Great guns ! 
You talk ten times louder than I do ! [Emphatic- 
ally."] I want you to let me go. 


Eh ? What is this ? Are you cracked ? or have 
you been drinking? In heaven's name ! 
C 37 ] 


The Draper 

Drinking ? My word ! There 's a pretty ques- 
tion ! 

Oh dear ! Speak lower ! 

The Draper [meekly"] 

I ask payment for six ells of cloth, lady, for 
pity's sake. 


It's all in'ycmr eye ! And who did you give it 

To himself. 


Fine trim he 's in for buying cloth ! Alas ! he 
can't budge [begins to sob ; the Draper thinks bard. ] 
He 's in no need of clothes ; never more will he 
be drest in any garment but a white one, nor leave 
the spot where he is lying, unless he goes feet first 


This must have happened since sunrise, then ; 
for I 'm sure I talked with him, 

Gmllemette \Jtopping her ears] 
Your voice is so shrill ! Be quiet, for pity's sake ! 



Draper [in a perfect tantrum\ 
It 's you, upon my oath ! It 's you ! Oh, damn 
it ! OcTs blood ! this is torment. If some one 
paid me, I would go my way. Afore Heaven ! 
whenever I have trusted, this is what I *ve always 
got for it. 



Patelin [as if he had just awakened~\ 
Guillemette ! A little rosewater ! Prop me up ! 
Tuck me in behind ! Pah ! No one 's listening. 
The ewer ! A drink ! Rub the soles of my feet ! 

I hear him there. 

You do. 

Patelin \in a nightcap ; peers out between the cur- 

tains and shouts to Guillemeite~\ 
Ha, wretch ! come here ! Who told you to open 
those windows ? Come, cover me ! Drive these 


black men away ! Marmara, carimari, carimara ! 
Away with them ! away ! 

Guillemette \Jo Patelin\ 

What J s this ? How you behave ! Are you 
beside yourself? 

Pat elm [slowly getting out of bed and pointing, as 
he does so, toward the rafters. 1*0 the Draper] 

Thou canst not see what I perceive. There 
is a black monk., f 1 y i n g. Catch him ! Give him 
a stole ! [Approaching the Draper ', who retreats 
backward, he spits like a cat y turning his fingers into 
claws and striking as if he were going to scratch the 
Draper's eyes outJ] The cat ! the cat ! \jPointing, 
and seeming to follow the flight of the imaginary 
monkJ] Up, up, he goes ! 


Oh what is this ? Ain't you ashamed ! La ! this 
turmoil has upset him. 

Patelin [returns to bed and falls back on his pillow y 
exhausted* To Guillemette^ who is bending over him~\ 
Those physicians have killed me with these 
hotchpotches they have made me drink. And yet, 
to believe them, it's as simple as moulding wax. 


Guilkmette [to the Draper] 
Oh ! Have a look at him, sir : he *s such a 

jT#<? Draper 

You don't mean to say he 's fallen sick since 
just now, when he came from market? 

From market? 


* Aye. By Saint John, I think he was there. [70 
Patelin.~\ 1 want my money for the cloth I lent you, 
Master Pierre. 

Patelin [pretending to take the Draper for a 

Ho, Doctor John ! harder than stone : I have 
.... two small lumps, black, round as balls. 
Shall I take another clyster ? 

The Draper 

Huh ? How do I know ? What business is it 
of mine ? It J s nine francs I want, or six crowns. 


These three black little pointed things, I be- 
lieve you call 'em c pills.' They have spoilt my 


jaws. For heaven's sake. Doctor John, no more 
of 'them 1 Pah ! there is nothing so bitter ! 
They Ve made me let go of everything. 

The Draper 

They have not ! by my father's soul ! You 
have n't let go of my nine francs. 

Guillemette [half a$idi\ 

Hang them! these folks who are always med- 
dling. [ c Shooing ' the indignant but helpless Draper. J 
Away with you, by all the devils ! as God has 
nothing to do with it. 

The Draper 

By the Lord who made me, I will have my cloth 
before I finish, or my nine francs ! 

Patelin \to the Draper,, still pretending to take him 
for c Doctor John '] 

And my water, does it show, perchance, that 
I am dying? [To Guillemettel\ Alas, although 
he stays, let me not die ! 

Guillemette \to the Draper] 

Begone ! Is n't it wicked to be splitting his ears 
with your din ? 

[42 ] 


Draper \jhrowing up both hands\ 

May heaven rue the day it runs foul of him ! 
[70 Patelin.~\ Six ells of cloth ! Come, now ! upon 
your honour, is it fair for me to lose them ? 


Had you only been able to thin my .... Doctor 
John ; it 's so hard when it comes out at my .... 
, . . . that I don't know how I keep on living. 

The Draper \_shaking his Jisi] 
I want nine francs in full, I say, or by Saint 
Peter . . . 


Dear me ! how you plague the man ! How can 
you be so boisterous? You see clearly that he 
takes you for a physician. Alas ! the poor Chris- 
tian has had ill luck enough. Eleven weeks 
without a break he *s been lying there, poor soul ! 
\_Clasps her hands and looks like the most dismal hypo- 
crite ; Pwtelin rolls over, with a groan.~\ 

Draper [half to him self ~\ 
Od's blood ! I can't imagine how this mishap 
could have befallen him ; for he came this very day 
and we struck a bargain, at least, it seemed to 
happen so, if I 'm not mistaken. 



My good sir, there 's something amiss with your 
memory. Really, I think you had better go and 
rest a little ; for lots of folks might gossip that you 
come in here on my account. Go away ! The phy- 
sicians will be on hand presently,, and I would n't 
have any one suspect some impropriety : I 'm not 
that sort. 


Oh, curse it all ! So this is the fix I 'm in. 
\_Mopping his brow^\ I '11 be bound ! I was still 
thinking . . , You have no goose on the fire ? 


Hark what he asks ! Why, sir, that 's no food 
for sick folks. Eat your own geese, and don't come 
here to play your monkey tricks. I must say, you 
make yourself very much at home. 

The Draper 

Please don't take it amiss, for I verily believed 
. . . [T0 himself."] Still ... by the sacrament . . . 
Pshaw ! now I am going to find out ! \_Walks away 
slowly, muttering as he goesJ] I know full well that 
I ought to have six ells, all in one piece ; but that 
woman has clean upset my wits. He took them ; 
no doubt of it ! [After reflection^ Nay, he did not. 


The devil ! it will not tally ! I saw him in Death's 
clutch or at least he 's shamming death. [Ponders 
again. ~] Aye, by 'r Lady, he did ! There is no 
doubt of it ; he took them and stowed them away 
beneath his elbow ! [After more reflection^] No, 
he did not! It may be I am dreaming; yet, 
whether I be asleep or awake, it is not like me to 
give my goods to any man, however friendly he 
may be with me. I would not have trusted any 
one. [Angrily* .] Od's bod ! he took them ! and by 
the death . . . [Reflecting."] Nay, I have it! He 
did not ! . . Yet what am I coming to? [Emphat- 
ically."] He has them ! [After a slight pause he 
waves his arms desperately and bursts outl\ May a 
pox take both his body and his soul if I know who 
has got the best or the worst of it, they or myself! 
I 'm all at sea. 



Pat elm [still in bed; low to Guillemette"] 
Is he gone ? 

Guillemette [at the door] 

Be still ! I 'm listening. He is humming some 


little tune or other under his breath. By the way 
he mutters, one might suppose he was losing his 



Have n't I lain here long enough ? [After a 
pause.'] He dropped in so punctually ! 

Gulllemette [still listening] 
Maybe he will return. [Patelin starts to rise.'] 
Nay ! Heaven forbid ! Lie still a while. It would 
be all up with us if he found you out of bed. 


He met his match, the distrustful skinflint! 
Served him right ! 

Guilkmette [leaving her post] 
Of all the rank hucksters that ever were baited 
he is the gem ! Oh, this is what he gets for un- 
godly stinginess. [She titters loudly. ~] 


For heaven's sake, stop laughing ! If he came 
back he might play the mischief, and, let me tell 
you, we have n't seen the last of him. 


I declare ! Let anybody who can, keep from 
laughing ; I can't help it ! [Laughs uproariously.'] 



(At the Draper's shop) 


By the holy light that shines ! For all the bab- 
blers, that freshwater barrister shall see me again. 
Pooh ! That income some of his cousins or his 
aunts were going to furnish him ! A likely yarn ! 
Now, by Saint Peter, he has my cloth, the false 
swindler ! I gave it him right here. [Starts for 
Pateliris in a fury ^\ 

(At Patetin's) 



When I think of the face he made as he looked 
at you . . [Laughs.'] He dunned so fiercely ! 
\JLaughs again."] 


Quit your cackling ! God [crosses Mm- 



self"] . . . bless my soul, if some one should over- 
hear you we might as well decamp : he 's such a 
crusty customer. 

(Mostly in the market-place) 

Draper [with bitter scorn] 
Ha! a boozing pettifogger! [Sneering."] A quack 
who knows but three lessons and three psalms ! 
[Ironically.] The rest of us are brainless clowns, 
forsooth ! By gad., no one was ever fitter to be 
hanged ! He has my cloth,, or I '11 be damned, and 
he has tricked me with this game ! [Rapping angrily 
at Patelin's doorJ] Ho, there ! mis'ess : where are 
you hiding? 

(At Patelins) 



My word ! he 's heard me ! [Looking through tht 
key hole. ~] He seems to be going mad. 



Patelin [in bed; draws the curtains together^ 
I '11 make believe I 'm delirious. Let him in. 

Guillemette [opening the door and trying to look 

How you yell ! 

The Draper [entering noisily^ 
Ah ha! you are laughing, eh? Here! My 
money ! 


My stars ! What do you think I Ve got to 
laugh about? There isn't an unhappier creature 
under the sun. He is passing away. Never did 
you hear such a storming, nor frenzy. His mind 
is still astray; he raves, he sings, and then he 
babbles and mutters in so many languages ! He 
will not live half an hour. Upon my soul, I laugh 
and weep in the same breath. 

The Draper 

I know nothing about your laughter or your 
weeping. To cut it short, I must be paid ! 


For what ? Are you daft ? Are you beginning 
to rant again ? 



Draper [haughtily] 
I am not wont to be thus spoken to when I am 
selling my cloth. Would you have me believe the 
moon is made of green cheese? 

Patelin [standing on his bed, with his head between 
the curtains'] 

Now then ! the Queen of the Citterns ! Quick ! 
Fetch her here ! I know well she has given birth 
to four and twenty gitternkins by the abbot of 
Ivernaux : I must stand godfather for him. 


Alas ! Think about God the Father, my dear, 
not about gitterns or gitternkins. 

tfhe Draper \_aside\ 

Ha ! What a pair of humbugs ! [Exploding^] 
Quick now ! Plank down hard cash for the cloth 
you got of me, 


La ! If you made one mistake, are n't you sat- 
isfied ? 

Draper \_app ealingly] 
Do you know how it is, dear friend ? So help 
me God ! I 'm not aware of a mistake . . . [In- 


dignantly."] Come now ! Shell out> or be hanged ! 
\W r hining^\ How do I wrong you if I come here 
to ask for what is mine ? For by Saint Peter . . . 


Alas ! How you rack the man ! [Inspired^] I 
see by your looks that you are not sound. [Scan- 
ning him closely. "\ As sure as I am a sinner, if I had 
help "I 'd tie you fast, for you Ve gone stark mad. 

Draper {desperately} 
Oh dear, oh dear ! I am beside myself at not 
getting my money. 


Oh what witless talk! Cross yourself! Bene- 
dicite ! [Insisting."] Make the sign of the cross ! 

*tbe Draper 

Damn me if ever I trust anybody with . . . 
\he begins to speak brokenly, hearing noises from the 
bed) where Pat din is about to have a fresh frenzy] 
. . . cloth . . . this . . . year . . . Godamercy ! 
What an invalid ! 

Patelin [leaping down from his bed and striding 

about y performing^ meanwhile y various antics 

which the Draper observes with amazement] 

Mere de diou> la coronade, par fye, y m'en 


voul anar. Or renague biou, outre mar. Ventre 
de diou ! zendict gigone, castuy carible et res 
ne done. Ne carillaine, fuy ta none, que de 
1' argent 11 ne me sone ! If it 's ducats, mum is the 
word. [T0 the Draperl\ Have you understood, 
fair coz ? 

Guillemette [to the Draper] 
He once had an uncle near Limoges, a brother 
of his aunt-in-law. That, I take it, is why he 
jabbers in the gibberish of Limousin. 

'The Draper 

Out on you ! He stole away with my cloth 
under his arm-pit. 

Patelin [taking Guillemette by the hand and starting 

to lead her away in princely fashion^ 
Venez ens, doulce damiselle. [Pointing to the 
Draper^] Toadspawn ! what 's it after ? [Haughtily 
commanding the Draper to draw backl\ Avaunt, 
scullion, avaunt ! \While the Draper stares^ Patelin 
strides across the room, snatches up an old gown of 
Guillemette' 's, and in very short order gets himself up 
as a priest ; he then addresses his bewildered visitor 
in exclamative or questioning tones.~\ Hither ! Has- 
ten ! Devil, come en chelle vielle monkery. Heh ! 
fault il que ly prestre rie, quant il deust canter se 
messe ? 

[ 52 ] 



Alas ! alas ! it will soon be time to give him the 
extreme unction. 

'The Draper 

But how does he happen actually to speak the 
Picard tongue ? Whence comes this foolishness ? 


His mother was raised in Picardy ; so he speaks 
Picard now. 

Patelin \_going toward the Draper] 
Whence comest thou, merry reveler ? Wacarme ! 
liefve godeman. Henriey, Henriey, conselapen. 
[Fakes the Draper's hands and goes dancing about 
the room, singingl\ Grile, grile, scohehonden, 
zilop, zilop, en mon que bonden, Disticlien 
unen desen versen, mat groet festal ou truit 
den hersen. [As he gives the astounded Draper a 
final twirl, Patelin trips himself \ falls, and lies on 
his back with only enough strength left to gasp, but 
in this posture he soon gets breath to continue his 
linguistic antics."] Vuste vuille pour le frimas ! 
[Kneels as if at a confessionalJ\ Faictes venir sire 
Thomas tantost qui me confessera! 

The Draper 

What is this ? He will keep on all day talking 


foreign languages. If he would only give me 
a security, or my money,, I would go. 


Bless my soul ! . . . Oh, dear me ! You are so 
outlandish. What will you have ? How you can 
be so stubborn passes my understanding. 

Patelin [to the Draper} 

Or cha 3 Renouart au Tine ! Be dea, que ma 
couille est pelouse ! [The Draper , determined to get 
his money by hook or by crook, takes hold of Patelin's 
gown and gives it a pulL~\ Les playes dieu ! qu'esse 
qui s'attaque a men coul ? Esse une vaque ? 

unemousque? ou ung escarbot? [The Draper 
retreats, Patelin crouches behind a chair ^ with only 
his head visible^ Be dea ! j'e le mau saint Garbot ! 

Suis je des foyreux de Baieux? 

The Draper 

How can he stand the strain of so much talking ? 
\JVitnessing fresh antics. ~\ Ho ! he is losing his 
wits ! But how does he come to speak Norman ? 


His schoolmaster was a Norman; so in his 
last hour the memory of it comes back to him. 
[Further capers by Pat elm."] He is giving up the 
ghost ! 



Draper \in dismay] 

Thunderation ! This is the worst raving that 
ever I ran foul of. \jTo Guillemette] I never should 
have thought he was not this day at market ! 

Guillemette [astonished] 
You thought so ? 


Yes, hanged if I did n't ; but I see that is n't 
what happened, at all. 

Patelin \listening, as if he beard some noise in the 

Sont il ung asne que j'os braire ? [Sputtering, 
as if another frenzy were coming on] Ha oul dan- 
daoul en ravezeie Orf ha en euf. [Behind a chair 
Patelin changes his costume so as to resemble an old 
hag. Meanwhile Guillemette and the Draper, cling- 
ing to each other, await the next occurrence with a 
horror in one case shammed, in the other real. Hear- 
ing a weird sound from behind the chair, Guillemette 
cries out, with clasped hands.] 


God help you ! 



Patelin [picks up a broom^ and with the handle makes 
cabalistic figures on the floor > draws a circle 
round the Draper; then sits astride his broom 
and goes prancing off like a witch, continuing his 

Huls oz bezou drone nos badou Digaut an 
tan en hoi madou Maz rehet crux dan holcon 
So ol oz merveil il grant nacon Aluzen archet 
epysy JJar cals amour ha coureisy. 

The Draper 

Alas ! Blest Heaven ! Hearken to it ! He is 
sinking. How he gurgles ! [To Guillemette.~\ But 
what is he sputtering about? How he mutters ! 
Od's bodykin ! he mumbles so I cannot catch a 
word of it. This is not Christian, or any other 
tongue, apparently. 


It 's Breton. His grandmother on his father's 
side came from Brittany. {Patelin shows signs ofex- 
haustionl\ He is dying ! This shows that he needs 
his last sacraments. 

Patelin [still astride the broom ; to the ~Drafer\ 
He par Gigon, tu te mens. Vualx te deu, 
couille de Lorraine ! [Starts to explain the cabalistic 
figures to the Draper, who retreats in alarm. Pate- 

[ 56] 


Un pur sues him, whacking the floor and furniture with 
his broom. Finally y as the Draper, breathless, takes 
refuge behind a chair, Patelin addresses him in Latin."] 
Et bona dies sit vobis, magister amantissime, 
pater reverendissime, quomodo brulis ? que 
nova ? Parisius non sunt ova ! Quid petit ille 
mercator ? Dicat sibi quod trufator, ille qui in 
lecto jacet, vult ei dare, si placet, de oca ad 
comedendum . [Falls on the floor, ^he Draper, who 
has regained some of his courage, helps Guillemette to 
put Patelin to bed, bolstering him up with pillows. 
Patelin continues to mutter. "\ 


Upon my word, he will die a-talking! How he 
froths ! \*To the Draper ^\ Do you not mark how 
he is steaming? [Casting her eyes aloft, ,] Now his 
human part is going to its heavenly home. \Hiding 
her face in her hands J\ Now I shall be left alone, 
poor and forlorn. 

Draper [aside] 
It were well for me to go away before he breathes 
his last. [70 Guillemette.'] I fear he might be loth, 
at his decease, to tell you any secrets in my pre- 
sence, though he would in privacy. Pardon ; for 
I take my oath I thought he had got my cloth. 
Good bye, ma'am ; may God forgive rne ! 


Guillemette [showing him out] 
Heaven bless you and his poor mournful 
wife ! 

(In tbe street] 

The Draper 

By all the saints ! I 'm flummuxed worse than 
ever. \After a short pause."] The Devil, in his 
stead^ took my cloth to tempt me ! Benedicite ! 
[Crosses himself. ] May he leave me in peace ! And 
since the case so stands., I give the cloth in God's 
name to whosoever took it. [Reenters his shop."] 


(At Pateliris} 


Patelin [jumping out of bed and waving his hand 

after the departing Draper] 
Go along with you ! [jTo Guillemette] How do 
you like me for a teacher? [Peeping into the street."] 



Crackbrained Neddie is making for home. [Taps 
his head significantly. ~\ Heavens ! he has plenty of 
rooms to let ! ... At night, when he 's in bed, he is 
likely to see spooks. 


How he was bamboozled! And didn't I do my 
part well ? 


Od's bodykin ! You 're an angel ! We Ve got 
cloth enough, I think, to have some clothes ! \With 
this y Patelin fulls the stolen cloth from the bed, where 
It has lain hidden^ wraps one end round his body and 
flings the whole strip so that it lies unfolded when it 
reaches Guillemette' s feet. She grasps her end and 
whirls so that she and Patelin are close together 
when the curtain falls. ~\ 

(At the Draper's shop] 

Later y TIBALT LAMBKIN, a Shepherd 

T^he Draper 

That 's the way ! Everybody stuffs me with 
lies. Everybody carries off my goods, and takes 


what he can get. Of all unlucky men I am the 
king. The very shepherds cheat me; but mine, 
whom I have always treated kindly,, shall be sorry 
for flouting me ! By the blessed Virgin, he shall 
smart for it ! 

Shepherd \jzppearing unexpectedly from the left 
of the market-place; on being seen by his master, 
he removes his cap and bows ; then begins to speak 
with the thick dull drawl of a born yokeT\ 

God give you a good day, sweet master, and 
a good evening ! 

<Tbe Draper 

Oho ! So it 's thou, foul churl. A good fellow 
thou art; aye, good for the gallows ! 

Shepherd [resting his crook on the ground and 
stopping? about five feet from the Draper~\ 

I ax your pardon, master, but some one or other 
in striped hosen, which were right disorderly, and 
he had a rod in his hand, yet no lash on it, said 
to me, says he . . yet I remember not at all well 
what it may be, to tell the truth. He spoke to 
me of you, master, and of some summons or other. 
As for me, holy mother ! much I know what it 's 
all about. He muddled me a-talking about ewes 
and court in the afternoon. And he raised a great 
hullaballoo for you, master . . . 


dfafaifj mci) poifcmoij auoit; 

mccafiufent oteefetniet) 
if nema pas pour Bteij p60? 

? Shepherd comes to explain 


The Draper [shaking his fist in the face of Lamb- 
kin, who cowers against the wall"] 

If I do not have thee hauled forthwith before 
the judge, may I be drowned and blasted ! Never 
shalt thou kill one beast, by my oath, but thou 
remember it ! Anyhow, thou shalt pay me for the 
six ells .... I mean for slaughtering my sheep, 
and the havoc thou hast wrought me these ten 
years past. 

The Shepherd 

Don't believe the slanderers, my good master ; 
for, upon my soul . . . 

The Draper 

And by Gog's bones, before Saturday thou shalt 
give me back my six ells of wool . . I mean what 
was taken from my sheep. 

The Shepherd 

What wool ? Ah ! master, I believe you are 
angry over some other thing. By Saint Lupus! 
master, I fear to speak when I look at you. 

The Draper 

Leave me in peace ! Out of my sight ! if thou 
art wise. And thou hadst better be on hand. 



The Shepherd 

Master, let us agree. For God's sake, don't go 
to law about it. 

fbe Draper [waving him of] 
Begone ! Thy business is in a pretty pass ! 
[ Telling and shaking his fist in Lambkin s face."] 
Begone ! I say. I '11 make no agreement., nor set- 
tle anything, save as the judge shall do. [He drives 
the Shepherd out."] Yah ! Unless I 'm wary, every 
one will be swindling me from now on ! 

The Shepherd 

God be wi* you, sir, and give you joy ! [Cross- 
ing the market-place ; to himself."] So I must de- 
fend myself. [Knocks at Patelin's door.~] Is any one 

within ? 




Hang me, if he is n't coming back ! 

Nay, he is not ; mercy on me ! that would be 
the very worst. 



Shepherd [_as Patelin comes ouf\ 
God be with you ! God bless you ! 


God keep thee ! What wilt thou, my good 

^he Shepherd 

They will fine me for default unless I appear for 
trial. And, if you like, you will come, sweet mas- 
ter, and defend me ; for I know nothing. And I 
will pay you well, even though I be ill clad. 


Come hither, now. Speak up ! Which art thou ? 
plaintiff? or defendant ? 

f&e Shepherd 

I have business with a dealer do you under- 
stand, sweet master? whose ewes I have for a 
great while led to pasture and watched for him. 
Now, sir, upon my word, I saw he paid me scantly. 
. . Shall I tell everything? 


To be sure ! A client should hide nothing from 
his counsel. 

The Shepherd 
It is true, sir, beyond denial, that I basted 'em 



on the skull for him, so that time and again they 
went into a swoon and fell dead ; no matter how 
strong and sound they were. And then, lest he 
should lay it to me, I gave him to understand that 
they died of the scab. c Ho ! ' quoth he, c take the 
f scabby one away from the others ; off with her ! ' 
c Right willingly ! ' quoth I ; [leering] but that was 
done otherwise ; for, by Saint John ! I ate them, 
knowing well what they wanted. Well, sir, this 
went on so long, and I slaughtered so many, that 
he found it out. And when he saw he was being 
deceived, God help me! he set somebody to 
spy; for they hear them bleat very loud, you 
understand, when it 's going on. So I have been 
caught red-handed ; I can never deny it. Now I 
beseech you for my part I have money enough 
that we two steal a march on him. I know well 
he has the law on his side, but you will find some 
loophole, if you try, so as to give him the worst 
of it. 


By your faith, shall you be glad ? \Winsomely '.] 
What will you give me if I upset the plaintiff's 
case, and you are acquitted ? 


I will pay you not in copper, but in fine gold 



Then your case shall be a good one. And were 
it twice as bad, so much the better ! and the sooner 
I shall do for him ! As I am going to apply my 
wisdom, how you shall hear me spout, when he 
has set forth his suit ! Come hither ! By the holy 
precious blood ! Art thou crafty enough to under- 
stand a trick ? What is thy name ? 

Vbe Shepherd 
By Saint Maurus ! it is Tibalt Lambkin. 

Patelin \Jocularly\ 

Lambkin, hast thou filched many a sucking lamb 
from thy master ? 

3*be Shepherd 

My word ! it is quite likely I have eaten above 
thirty in three years. 


Ten yearly to pay for dice and candles. \_AsideI\ 
I believe I shall let him have it fair ! \_Aloud^\ Dost 
think he can find any one forthwith to prove his 
facts ? That is what the case hinges on. 

The Shepherd 

Prove, sir ? Blessed Mary ! By all the saints 
in Paradise ! instead of o n e he '11 have a dozen 
witnesses against me ! 




That 's a bad feature In thy case. [Slight pause."] 
Here is what I had in mind. I '11 feign to know 
naught of thee, that I never laid eyes on thee before. 

tfhe Shepherd [in dismay]^ 

Lord, no ! not that ! 


No, then I won't. But here is what you must 
do. If you talk, they will trap you every time, and 
in such cases confessions are most prejudicial, and 
so harmful that it 's the devil and all. Here is the 
trick ! As soon as they call on you for trial, an- 
swer nothing but ba-a-a [mimicking a sheep's bleaf\ , 
whatever they say to you. And if they happen to 
curse you, saying, c Ha, stinking fool ! a pox on 
thee, villain ! Art thou flouting the court ? ' go 
ba-a. c Oh ! ' I '11 say, c he is half-witted ; he thinks 
he is talking to his sheep 1 ' But even if they split 
their heads with roaring, not another word ! Be- 

The Shepherd 

I take it to heart, and truly I will be wary, and 
I will do it properly, I promise and affirm. 


Now heed ! No flinching ! And whatever I say 
or do, give me no other answer. 


The Shepherd 

I ? By my sacrament ! call me a fool outright 
If I utter to-day another word, to you or to any 
one, whatsoever they say to me, but only 2>a-a 3 as 
you have taught me. 


By Saint John ! There is the prank to outwit 
your adversary ! [In a tone between wheedling 
and threat."] But when it is done, pay me a right 
good fee. 

^he Shepherd 

Master, If I do not pay as agreed, never trust 
me. But I pray, look carefully to my business. 


By'r Lady of Boulogne, the Judge must be 
holding court ; for he always is on hand by six 
o'clock, or thereabouts. Now come along with 
me, but we will not take the same road, 

The Shepherd 

Quite so ! [shrewdly] they must n't see that 
you 're my lawyer. 

Patelin [threateningly] 

By 'r Lady ! Mind your eye, if you don't pay 
generously ! 



The Shepherd 

Why ! as agreed, sir ; do not doubt it. [Sets 

Patelin [alone] 

Oh, well, half a loaf is better than no loaf at 
all. I shall hook a minnow, anyhow ; and if he is 
lucky, he will give me a crown or so for my pains. 
[Follows the Shepherd into the market-place.~\ 

(In the market-place) 

(Enter Judge ', followed by a clerk, a score of archer s, 
bailiffs , and loiter ers^ 'who range themselves to the 
right and left of the market-cross^ so as to leave 
an open space before the Judge's seat. The Judge 
sits down and surveys the crowd} 


Patelin Removes his hat ; to the Judge\ 

God bless you, sir, and grant you your heart's 
desire ! 

tfhe Judge 

Welcome, sir ! But cover yourself. There ! 
Take a seat 


Patelin [hiding in the crowd^ to avoid being seen by 
the Draper, whose breathless approach brings 
to him the sudden realisation that the Shepherd's 
adversary is the very person whom he has him- 
self beguiled"] 
Oh, I am all right, sir, if you please ; there 's 

more room here. 

The Judge [brusquely] 

If there is business, have done with it, in order 
that the court may adjourn. 

The Draper [arrives much flurried^ just as the Judge 

has spoken] 

My lawyer is coming, your Worship. He is 
finishing a little work that he was at, and it would 
be kind of you to wait for him. 

The Judge \Jestily] 

Come, come ! I have business elsewhere. If 
the offending party is here., set forth your case at 
once. Are you not the plaintiff? 

The Draper 
I am. 

The Judge [casting his eyes about] 
Where is the defendant? Is he present in per- 
son ? 

$e8eaie aiffeucea enfenSre 




Draper [pointing at the Shepherd^ 

Yes, there he is, keeping mum ; but God knows 
he has something to think about. 

fbe Judge \Jo the Draper] 

Since you are both here, make known your 


This, then, is what I am bringing an action 
against him for. Your Worship, the truth is that 
for the love of God, and out of charity, I reared 
him in his childhood ; and when I saw that he 
was strong enough to work in the fields, to cut 
it short, I made him my shepherd and set him to 
watching my flock ; but as true as you are sitting 
there, your Worship, he has wrought such havoc 
among my ewes and wethers that, no mistaking, 
he ... 

Judge \officious\ 
Now listen ! Was n't he in your hire ? 

Patelin {breaking in> ostensibly to show that the 
Judge has made a good poini\ 

Aye, that 's it ! For had he kept him for pure 
sport, without hire . . . 

c 7*] 


The Draper [recognising Pate/in, who hides his face 

behind his hand~\ 

The devil get me ! If it 's not you, and no 
mistake ! 

The Judge [to Patelin] 

How is this ? You are holding your hand up. 
Have you a toothache. Master Pierre ? 

Patelin \wincing~] 

Yes, my teeth are raising such a row that I 
never felt worse pains. I daren't lift my head. 
[Waving one hand.'] For God's sake, make him 
proceed ! 

Tbe Judge [to the Draper] 
Go on. Finish your charge. Come ! Conclude 

The Draper [aside, and staring at Patelin] 
By the holy rood, 7 t is he and no other ! [To 
Patelin^] It was you I sold six ells of cloth to, 
Master Pierre ! 

The Judge [to Patelin] 
What is he saying about cloth . ? 

Patelin [to the Judge] 

He's rambling. He means to come to the 
[ 73] 


point, but he can't find his way to it, for he lacks 
the training. 

'The Draper {half choked with indignation] 
Hang me if anybody else took my cloth, by 
the bloody throat ! 

Patelin [to the Judge] 

How the wretched man lugs his inventions in 
to make out a case ! The pig-headed fellow 
means, of course, that his shepherd had sold the 
wool that went into the cloth that made my gar- 
ment, by saying that he is robbing him, and that 
he stole the wool of his sheep. 

Tbe Draper [to Patelin] 
Damn me, if you have n't it ! 

The Judge [to the Draper] 

In the devil's name, be still ! You are twaddling. 
Can you not return to the subject, without delay- 
ing the court by such drivel ? 

Patelin [with one hand still on bis jaw] 
My teeth ache so ; yet I must laugh ! [Looking 
toward the Draper^] He 's already in such haste 
that he does n't know where he left off. We must 
set him right again. 

[ 74] 


The Judge [to the Draper] 
Come ! Let 's stick to those sheep ! What hap- 
pened ? 

Draper \is about to return to his sheep, when 
Patelin^ by stepping in front of him, diverts his 
attention; whereupon he shakes his fist at 
Patelin and at the same time appeals to the 

He took six ells, worth nine francs ! 

The Judge [bawling] 

Are we greenhorns ? or tomfools ? Where do 
you think you are ? 

Patelin \to the Judge] 

Od's blood ! He takes us for ganders, I sup- 
pose ! Oh, he looks so very good ! but let me 
advise that his opponent be examined a bit. 

The Judge \fsgaining his composure^ 
Very true ! He is familiar with the man ; he 
must needs know him. [To the Shepherd."] Step 
forward. Speak. 

The Shepherd \shambling forward and looking very 

Ba-a ! 




Hoity-toity I Here 's a mess ! What is this 
ba-a ? Am I a goat ? Speak to me ! 

The Shepherd 
Ba-a I 

A murrain on you ! Ha! Are you flouting us? 

Patelin [to the Judge] 

Believe me, he is crazy, or stupid, or he fancies 
he *s among his sheep. 

T&e Draper [wildly, to Patelin] 
Damn me if you are not the very man that took 
it, my cloth, I mean, [fo the Judge."] Oh, you 
can't imagine, sir, by what deceit . . . 

Judge [threatening] 
Hold your tongue ! Are you an idiot ? Leave 
that matter alone, and let J s come to the point ! 


True, your Worship ; but the circumstance 
concerns me ; yet on my faith I '11 not utter an- 
other word about it. Another time it may be dif- 
ferent* I shall have to swallow it whole. Well, 
as I was saying, I gave six ells [the Judge starts 



uf\ ... I mean, my sheep . . . pray, sir, forgive 
me . . . this nice master [Pierre] . . . my shepherd, 
when he ought to have been in the fields . . , 
[Shaking his fist at Pat elm and appealing frantically 
to the Judge]. He told me I should have six 

/ O Jl 

crowns in gold, as soon as I came . . . [as the 
Judge threatens] ... I mean, three years ago my 
shepherd gave me his word that he would watch 
over my flock loyally and do me no damage to it, 
nor any villainy, and then . . . [seeing Patelin] 
now he denies me outright both cloth and money. 
[_To Patelin]. Oh, Master Pierre, truly .. [Catches 
a warning frown from the Judge.~\ That scoun- 
drel robbed me of the wool of my sheep ; and 
healthy though they were, he killed them, and 
made them die by pounding out their brains . . 
[Again Patelin distracts his attention."] When he 
had tucked my cloth under his arm-pit he hurried 
off, saying I should go and get six gold crowns at 
his house. 

The Judge 

There is neither rime nor reason in all your 
railing. What does it mean? Now you interlard 
one thing, now another. In short, fore God, I can 
make neither head nor tail of it. [ 5T0 PatelinJ] He 
muddles something about cloth and prattles next 
of sheep, helter skelter. What can he be driving 




Now, I undertake that he is keeping back the 
poor shepherd's wage. 

The Draper [to Patelin\ 

By heaven, you might hold your tongue ! My 
cloth . . as true as gospel . . I know where my 
shoe pinches better than you or any one. Od's 
bones, you have it ! 

Judge [to the Draper] 
What has he ? 


Nothing, sir. \_Again bursts out^\ Upon my 
oath, he is the greatest swindler . . [T'be Judge 
threatens^] Oh, I '11 be silent about it, if I can, 
and not speak of it again, whatever happens. 

The Judge 
No ! But remember ! Now finish speedily. 

Pat elm \to the Judge\ 

This shepherd cannot answer the charge with- 
out counsel ; yet he is afraid, or knows not how 
to ask for it. If you were willing to order me to 
take his case, I would. 



The Judge [ironically] 

H i s case ? You 'd get cold comfort out of that, 
I should imagine. It 's hardly worth while. 


But, honestly, I don't care to make anything out 
of it ; let it be done for charity ! Burning toward 
the Shepherd^ Now I 'm going to find out from 
the poor lad what he will tell me, and whether, 
perchance, he may afford me matter for his defence. 
He would have a hard time getting out of it, if 
nobody came to his rescue. [To the Shepherdl\ 
Come hither, my friend. \With an utterly vacant 
expression the Shepherd slouches forward a step or 
tWQ^ with his crook in one hand, and his cap in the 
other I\ If any one could find . . . dost thou 
understand ? 

The Shepherd 

Ba-a ! 

Patelin \_feigning astonishmenf\ 

Ba-a ? The devil ! What ba-a ? Zounds ! Art 
thou crazy ? Tell me thy business. 

The Shepherd 
Ba-a-a ! 


How ba-a? Dost thou hear thy ewes a-bleat- 
ing ? Mind, it is to thine interest. 
[ 79] 


The Shepherd 
Ba~a ! 

Patelin [entreating] 

Now speak ! Say yes, and no. \Whi$pering^\ 
Well done ! Keep it up ! 

The Shepherd [softly} 
Ba~a ! 


Louder, or it may cost thee dear. 

The Shepherd [very loud} 
Ba-a~a I 

Patelin [as y with a despairing gesture^ he appeals to 

the Judge} 

The maddest man is he who drives such a born 
fool into court! Oh, sir! send him back to his 
ewes : he is a fool by nature. 

The Draper [to Patelin} 

A fool, you say ? Saint Saviour of Asturia ! he 
has more sense than you ! 

Patelin [to the Judge} 

Send him away to watch over his flocks, 
never to return. Cursed be whoever cites such 
a lackbrains into court ! 


Draper [to the Judge] 
And he is to be sent away before I can be heard ? 

Patelin \_to the Draper] 
So help me ! Yes ; since he 's out of his mind. 

Why not ? 

The Draper [to the Judge'] 
Oh now, sir ; at least allow me first to have my 
say. What I have to say is no trumpery, nor 

The Judge 

Vexation is all that comes of having dolts on 
trial, either male or female. Listen ! To cut the 
matter short, the court will adjourn. 

Draper [wistfully] 
Shall they go away without ever having to 
appear again ? 

Judge [_gathering up his robe] 
Well, now what . . 

Patelin [to the Judge]- 

Appear again ! You never saw a madder man, 
neither in his acts nor in his answers. [_Pointing to 
the Draper^] And he is not a whit better* Both 


are brainless fools. I'll be blessed! between them 
they have n't a pennyweight of brains ! 

Draper [shaking bis fist at Patelin} 
You carried it off by lying, that cloth, I 
mean, and without paying for it. Master Pierre. 
Fore God, that was the work of no upright man. 

Patelin [to the crowd} 

Saint Pintle of Rome! If he isn't mad al- 
ready, he is going mad. 

The Draper [to Patelin} 

I know you by your speech, and by your dress. 
I am not mad : I am sound enough to know who 
does right by me. \o the Judge."} I will tell you 
the whole matter, my lord ; upon my word I will ! 

Patelin [to the Judge} 

Oh, sir ! Bid him be still ! [5T0 the Draper^} 
Ain't you ashamed to wrangle so with this poor 
shepherd over three or four measly sheep not worth 
two buttons ! [T0 the crowd.'} He makes more 
ado , . . 

The Draper [storming and shaking his fists"} 

What sheep ? \Witb an expression of weariness 
and indignation be gives a couple of turns to an 

[82 ] 


imaginary crank.] A hurdy-gurdy ! Always the 
same old tune ! [Shaking bis finger in Patelin' s 
face.] It 's to yourself I am talking, to you ! 
and by all that 's holy you shall give it back 
to me ! 

The Judge 

Look you ! I am lucky ! [70 the crowd?] He 
will never stop bawling ! 

Draper [to the Judge] 
I ask him . . . 

Patelin [to the Judge"} 

Make him be still ! [*To the Draper."] Oh good- 
ness ! Give that song a rest ! Suppose he has 
lammed six or seven, or a dozen, and eaten 
them. Hell's bells! That is hard on you! You've 
earned more than that while he's been keeping 

tfhe Draper [to the Judge"] 

Mark, sir ! Mark ! When I talk to him of 
cloth, he answers with his shepherd fooleries ! 
[fo Patelin.'] Six ells of cloth that you put under 
your arm-pit and walked off with where are 
they ? Do you mean to give them back to me ? 

Patelin [to the Judge] 
Oh, sir! Would you have him hanged for six 



or seven sheep ? At least, sir, take time to catch 
your breath. Don't be so harsh to a forlorn shep- 
herd, who 's as naked as my nail. 

The Draper 

A pretty way to change the subject ! It was 
the devil made me sell cloth to such a customer ! 
[To the Judge.'} Oh now, your Worship, I ask 
him . . . 

The Judge [to the Draper] 
I acquit him of your charge and forbid you to 
proceed. A great honour it is to have a lunatic in 
court ! [To the Shepherd."} Away to your beasts ! 

The Shepherd 

The Judge [to the Draper] 
You show well what you are, sir, by 's death ! 

"The Draper 
Oh, my lord, upon my soul, I wish . . . 

Patelin [to the bystanders'] 
Could he stop ? 

The Draper [turning upon Patelin] 
And my business is with you! You cheated 



me and carried off my cloth by stealth and with 
your smooth talk . , . 

Patelin [to the Judge~] 
I cross my heart ! Why, do you hear him, sir ? 

The Draper [to Patelin] 

God help me, you 're the most arrant trick- 
ster . . . [To the Judge."] Your Worship, what- 
ever they may say . . . 

The Judge 

You are a pair of idiots, both of you ! It 's 
naught but wrangling. [He rises."] Yah ! It is 
about time to be leaving. [To the Shepherd."] Get 
thee gone, my friend, and never return, whatever 
bailiff serves a warrant on thee. The court acquits 
thee. Dost thou comprehend ? 

Patelin [to the Shepherd"] 
Say f I thank you, sir/ 

The Shepherd 

The Judge [to the Shepherd"] 
I mean it. Never mind ! Begone ! [Half to 
himself^] It is just as well. 



Is it fair that he should go away like this ? 

Judge [with a snort of disgusf\ 
Huh ! I have business elsewhere. [Both to 
Patelin and to the Draper I\ You are by all odds 
too fond of jibes. You shall keep me no longer : 
I am going. [T0 Pat elm .] Will you come and sup 
with me, Master Pierre ? 

Patelin \J>uts bis band over bis mouth and winces, 
as if his teeth were still aching] 

I cannot. 

[Exit Judge, followed by the throng of 
archers, bailiffs, loiterers, etcJ\ 


(Still in the market-place) 


The Draper [to Patelin] 

A downright robber ! that 's what you are ! Say ! 
Am I going to be paid ? 

[ 86 ] 


Pat din 

For what? Is your mind wandering ? Why, who 
do you think I am ? By rny heel ! I was wondering 
who you took me for. 

The Draper 

Pat din 

My dear sir, wait a bit. I '11 tell you right now 
who you think you take me for. Maybe it 's for 
Brainless ? \With one hand Patelin removes bis hat ; 
with the other he points to his bald spotJ] Look ! 
\Depr ecatingly.~\ Nay, nay ! He is n't bald, as I 
am, on top of his pate. 

The Draper 

You mean to take me for a blockhead, eh ? 'T is 
you, as sure as I 'm alive, you yourself. Your 
voice proves it, and I know it 's so. 


What ! Me myself? Nay ; truly it is n't. Try 
another guess. Might n't it be Jean de Noyon ? 
He 's shaped like me. 

The Draper 
Ugh ! He has no such boozy, sodden face. 


Didn't I leave you sick in bed a short while 
since ? 

Pat elm 

Ho ! There you have it ! Sick ? And with what 
malady ? Own up to being a jackanapes, as 
clearly enough you are ! 

The "Draper 

It 's you ; by Saint Peter's bones ! You ! and 
nobody else ! I know it for a fact. 


Now, don't you believe anything of the sort ! 
For it *s not me, at all. I never took an ell, nor 
even half an ell, from you. It ? s likely I would 
do such a thing ! 

Draper [looking blanK\ 
Hm ! I 'm going to have a look at your house, 
to see whether you are there. There 's no use in 
our worrying our heads about it any longer here, 
if I find you there* 


By'r Lady! Now you have it! That is the 
way to find out. 

[Exit Draper^ 
C 88 ] 


(Near the front of the market-place) 


Say, Lambkin ! 

tfbe Shepherd 
Ba-a ! 

Patelin [beckoning] 

Come hither. Come. Was thy business well 
done ? [The Shepherd does not move ; Patelin starts 
to approach him~\ 

he Shepherd {edging ojf~\ 

Patelin \stops, apprehensive lest Lambkin may take 

to flight} 

The plaintiff's gone, now. Cease thy ba-a: it's 
no longer needed. \Winsomely ^\ Did n't I trounce 
him? Didn't I counsel thee just right? 

The Shepherd 
Ba-a-a ! 



Patelin \drawing a step or two closer] 
Come, come ! Nobody will overhear you. Speak 
right out. You need n't fear. 

The Shepherd [looking for an outlet] 

Ba-a ! 

Patelin [firmly] 

It is time for me to be going. Pay me ! 

^Tbe Shepherd [just audibly] 

Patelin [patting the Shepherd, and in a beguiling 


To say truth, you did your part prettily, and 
your behaviour was first rate. What left him in the 
lurch was the way you kept from laughing. 

'The Shepherd [bleating a little louder] 

Ba-a-a ! 


Why ba-a? It 's not needed any longer. 
[Holds out his hand^] Come ! Pay me well and 

The Shepherd 
Ba-a ! 


Why ba-a ? Talk sensibly, and pay me ; then 
I will go my way. 

[ 90] 

Patettn tries to collect his fee 


Shepherd [still louder] 
Ba-a-a ! 


Let me tell you something. Can you guess what 
I am going to say ? Please pay me without further 
railing. I Ve had enough of your la-a. [Holding 
out his hand.'] Pay me> quick ! 

Shepherd [backs off, with a prolonged Ueaf\ 
Ea-a-a-a ! 

Patelin [reproachfully] 

Is this mockery ? Is this the most you intend 
to do ? [Growing fiercely eager.'] Upon my oath, 
you shall pay nie^ unless you can fly ! [Corner- 
ing the Shepherd."] Do you understand? Here! 
My fee ! 

The Shepherd 
Ba-a ! 


This is a jest ! \Wlth a shade of pathos] What 1 
Is this all I am to get? 

The Shepherd 

Patelin [half in jest, but persuasively] 
You are riming ; but this is prose, Hm ! Is 



there any green in my eye ? Are you aware whom 
you are trying to take in ? Babble to me no longer 
with your ba-a ! and pay me my fee. 

The Shepherd {growing restless] 
Ba-a-a ! 

Patelin Beeping him cornered"^ 
Is that the only cash I am to get ? With whom 
do you fancy you are playing ? [Regretfully."] And 
I was to take such pride in you ! Now let me be 
proud of you. 

The Shepherd 
Ba-a ! 


Are you feeding me on goose? [Fiercely."] By 
Gog's arms ! Have I lived to see myself jeered at 
by an oaf, a sheep in clothing, a filthy churl ! 

The Shepherd 
Ba-a ! 

Patelin \in gentle reproach] 
Is this the only word I am to hear ? If you are 
merely fooling, say so, and spare me further argu- 
ment. \A slight paused] Come to my house for 
supper, Lambkin. 



Shepherd [glances at Patelin cunningly ; then 
gives a loud bleat] 

Ba-a-a ! 

Patelin [half to himself] 

By Saint John, you are right ! The goslings 
take the geese to pasture. [To himself. ,] I thought 
myself the master of all deceivers, here and else- 
where ; of the old stagers, too, and of such as pay 
their debts on Doomsday ; but a mere shepherd 
leaves me behind ! [To the Shepherd, who is trying 
to make good his escaped] By Saint James ! if I 
could find a bailiff, I 'd have you nabbed ! 

'The Shepherd [dodging about y while Patelin endeav- 
ours to head him off*] 
a-a! Ba-a-a! 

Patelin [trying to get hold of the Shepherd"] 
Hm ! Ba-a! Hang me if I don't go after a 
good bailiff! Bad luck to him if he doesn't put 
you into gaol ! 

The Shepherd [fleeing] 
If he finds me, I '11 forgive him ! 




Page 4. * The Conjuring-book.' Guillemette means le gri- 
maire, a derivative of grammatua ( = ( Latin grammar ' ) . For 
several centuries the superstitious regarded le grimaire (English 
* gramary ' ) as a work having some occult connexion with the 
Devil. See, for instance, the fabliau of Martin Hap art, vol. ii, 
p. 176, in the Recueil general et complet des fabliaux. In the 
fabliau of Le roi d y Angleterre et le jongleur d y Ely> ib*, p. 242, 
gry moire seems to mean 'rigmarole.' In Rabelais (iv, 45) we 
read: * Autour de luy estoient trois prebstres bien ras et tonsures, 
lisans le grimoyre et conjurans les diables.' To give in modern 
speech the exact connotation of le grimaire is quite impossible, 


Page 4. ' Charlemaine in Spain.' The first verses of the Song 
of Roland state that Charles the Great spent full seven years 
in Spain. 


Page 5. 'Slyboots/ Le Roy reads cbaudes testes ; Levet 
changes cbaudes to saiges. Levet' s alteration seems to indicate 
that cbaudes testes was no longer clear in 1489, or thereabouts, 
and had, therefore, to be replaced by a more familiar expression. 
In my opinion, cbaudes testes was slang, and meant something 
very different from the translation that I have offered. At all 



events, to think of this wily barrister as ' hot-headed ' would 
be to endow him with a characteristic scarcely in keeping with 
his personality as it is portrayed in the remainder of the piece. 
A dare-devil he is, but self-controlled. It was trickery, not anger 
or violence, that caused Maitre Pierre to spend a Saturday in the 


Page 5. c Silks and satins,* a rough equivalent of camelos 
. . et . . camocas. Camlet, or chamlet, to give the English 
forms of camelot and cbamelot, seems to have been a thick, 
wavy material, originally composed of camel's hair or goat's hair, 
but later, apparently, of silk and wool. < Of fees and robes 
hadde he many oon,* says Chaucer of his Sergeant of the Law, 
and Rabelais scoffingly mentions *l'avocat, seigneur de Came- 
lotiere,' uncle of * le medecin d'eau douce, feu Amer' (ProL 
Book v). Camoca was probably a silken stuff", also sumptuous. 

Patelin's envious thrust at the gorgeously robed lawyers strikes 
home ; for they, as well as the half-starved throng of pettifoggers 
to which Patelin belongs, were bent upon filling their wallets by 
hook or by crook. Commines (vi, 5 ) was indignant at their 
corrupt practices ; generations later they aroused the strorn of 
Montaigne and excited the sarcasm of Moliere. 


Page 6. f [Counting on his finger /] * the only stage-direc- 
tion to be found in any known fifteenth-century text of Patelin. 


Page 8. 'Undergarment.' The original seems to contain a 
complicated pun on blancket, which may be taken as the dimin- 
utive of blanc (English * blank'), a small coin; or may mean 
f blanket ' for a bed, or a petticoat * -, or even be the antonym 
of brunet, the masculine of brunette. The actor who performed 



the part of Patelin was no doubt made up to look pale (fade) 
and boozy (j>otatif), as we shall see further on (pp. 48 and 
87). If Patelin is both pale and boozy, he is blanch et* This 
farce contains several puns of varying merit ; but the reader will 
pardon the translator both for his inability to do them justice, and 
for passing them henceforth in silence. 


Page 17. *"GodVpennies. ? The system of giving a trades- 
man earnest-money still survives ; but nowadays we call it a 
* deposit,* rather than * God's-penny,' as it was commonly 
called by our medieval ancestors. 

In the Middle Ages it seems to have been customary to give the 
God's-penny to the purveyor, or to his agent (see Du Cange), 
as a token of religious obligation to pay the whole debt within a 
certain period, not on Doomsday, in the manner of Master Pate- 
lin. Often, if not always, the denier a Dieu (denarius Dei) was 
dropped into a box somewhere near the church, or either in or 
near the market-place. There it remained till removed by a serv- 
ant of the Church. My stage-direction follows closely the tradi- 
tion of the Comedie Francaise, and is probably not a contradiction 
of history. 


Page 1 8. ( Saturday.' Market-day regularly fell on Saturday. 
See Note xiv. 


Page 1 8. ' Saint Maudeleyne's day.' Magdalen College at 
Oxford, despite its spelling, preserves the Middle English pro- 
nunciation. I have chosen the popular form because of its eu- 
phonious nature and its more popular, less sacred air. Saint 
Maudeleyne's day is the 22 July. 

[99 j 



Page 21. 'That goose.' Patelin says, in the original, 'Et 
si mengeres de mon oye, 5 a grimly humorous phrase ; for, 
in the first place, Master Pierre has no goose, and, furthermore, 
manger de j'eye, or de P oue, was a proverbial expression, mean- 
ing approximately 'to get something not bargained for/ or, as 
we say, 'to go on. a fool's errand,' or on * a wild-goose chase.' 
Imagine the pleasure with which an early audience would have 
Hstened to this bit of dramatic irony. 


Page 24. 'That trickster,' etc. These few words damn the 
Draper. He makes himself fair game, and his subsequent mis- 
fortunes are justified from an artistic point of view, however little 
they are justified by morality. 


Page 27. * Guillaume.' In the fifteenth century ' Guil- 
laume ' meant not only 'William,' but also 'dunce' or 'gull.' 
It would be easy to cite many similar applications of English 
baptismal names. Jack-pudding, Jackanapes, Tomfool, Willy, 
Neddy, Johnny (a town fop who haunts green-rooms, or any 
effeminate man-about- town), Miss Nancy, and Ralph Spooner 
will do for examples, ' Chaque nation,' says Montaigne (i, 
46), 'a quelques noms qui se prennent, je ne scay comment, 
en mauvaise part : et a nous Jehan, Guillaume, Benoit. ' Mon- 
taigne goes on to say that at a banquet given by Henry Duke of 
Normandy the guests were grouped at table according to their 
names. At the first table sat one hundred and ten knights named 

Page 27. 'Let's bind the bargain with a drink.' The im~ 


plication is obvious ; but could Patelin have got any publican to 
trust him ? See page 8 of the text. 


Page 30. 'That Saturday they put you in the stocks.' 
Saturday was chosen because it was market-day (see Note vm). 
The prisoner's ignominy would thus be known, not only to his 
fellow townsmen, but also to the crowds who flocked in from the 
neighbouring country. Here we encounter, therefore, one of sev- 
eral flaws or inconsistencies in the plot of Patelin. Even so dull 
a fool as the Draper could hardly be ignorant of Patelin' s repu- 
tation ; indeed he calls him a trickster, as we have seen ; never- 
theless he trusts Patelin, and actually expects to receive payment 
and have a bite of Patelin' s goose. 


Page 31. * Saint Mat. ' Mathurinus was a saint in Gasti- 
nois (Gatinais), a district lying southwest of Paris. Saint Mathe- 
lin, to give his popular name, was * held to be the Physitian, or 
Patron of madfooles' (Cotgrave). * Saint Vitus*s dance ' is one 
of the few English phrases left over from a time when various 
saints supplied names for as many kinds of maladies. The liberty 
of abbreviating the name has been taken because Mathelin ' 
would rime disagreeably (in prose) with f Patelin,' and because 
* Mathelin ' is in any case a name without meaning, so far as most 
persons are concerned. 


Page 38. * This must have happened since sunrise, then, ' etc. 
On page 68 we learn that the trial takes place about six o'clock. 
In the fifteenth century the hours had come to be reckoned as 
they are now. Therefore the whole action of Patelin consumes 
some ten or twelve hours of daylight, and the first great comedy 



composed in a modern tongue observes the Unity of Time, if we 
understand that term according to traditional canons. In reality 
the imagination needs only about an hour and a quarter to learn 
a series of events which occupy, with intervals not altogether easy 
to determine, a period lasting approximately from rather early in 
the morning till dusk. 

Now, as to the Unity of Place. On the medieval stage the 
various scenes of a story were visualised, not by the shifting of 
scenery, but by the juxtaposition of all the structures necessary to 
the performance of a given piece. From the beginning of a play 
to its close the stage-setting remained unchanged. Such, at any 
rate, was the character of the < serious drama,' and there is no 
good reason for supposing that a wholly different arrangement 
obtained in the performing of farces ( see Preface, pages xiii and 
xiv) . We may assume that on one side of a broad stage stood 
the Draper's shop, or some structure intended to represent it. 
On the other side stood Patelin's abode, designated, perhaps, by 
hardly more than a wall with a door in it (see the woodcut, 
page 33), and that 'this door opened upon an area representing 
a market-place, or, at all events, a space wide enough to lend some 
plausibility to the events set forth in Patelin. If we grant this 
to be true, the Unity of Place, also, is observed in Patelin. The 
setting adopted by the Comedie Francaise is unquestionably very 
different from that of the Middle Ages, and does not observe the 
Unity of Place, if by that term we mean one and the same local- 
ity completely visible at a given moment. 

In Patelin the Unity of Action is not marred by any irrelevant 
digression, though certain entrances are too timely. But this same 
flaw is common in Moliere, whose characters often appear on the 
scene with no better warrant than a Mais le voila qui vient,* 
or some other similar phrase. As late as Labiche unjustified en- 
trances are still common; but the most modern playwrights, when 
they are genuine artists, avoid this defect in dramatic construction. 



Page 39. f Rose water,* etc. In the Middle Ages rose water 
was supposed to be efficacious in restoring persons who felt faint, 
or who had fallen into a swoon. Recipes for distilling this remedy 
have been preserved by numerous works on medicine. 

In his essay * On Three Good Women * (n, 35 ), Montaigne 
speaks of rubbing the feet as if that had been a common way of 
restoring life or vitality. 


Page 40. < Marmara, carimari, carimara.' This gibberish 
seems to parody some weird formula once used by priests in per- 
forming exorcisms upon persons supposedly possessed. We have 
much the same sort of thing in the mild incantation < Ena, mena, 
mina, mo ! Catch a nigger by the toe,' etc., or in <Fe, fi, fo, 
mm ! I smell the blood of an Englishmun ! ' As Patelin is being 
plagued by e black men,' the conjecture that <marmara, carimari, 
carimara* is a burlesque of some formula of exorcism, seems 
highly plausible, though these particular syllables may imitate some 
rigmarole in the patter of fifteenth-century trick-performing mounte- 


Page 40. 'Away with them! away!* The text reads, 
Amenes les moy, amenes ! ' In the so-called Chroniqtie scan- 
daleuse (A. D. 14601483), and in various other medieval texts, 
amener is more than once used for emmener. My translation is 
warranted, therefore, by pure philology as well as by common 


Page 40. C A stole.* When a priest had occasion to drive 
away the devil, it was desirable, if not indispensable, that he 
should use a stole, the symbol of obedience*. For a detailed de- 


scription of this custom, which, is still common in the Roman 
Catholic Church, see my * Exorcism with a Stole,' in Modern 
Language Notes for December, 1904. 


Page 42. 'My water.' Medieval physicians set great store 
by the examination of urinal symptoms. A large number of manu- 
scripts treating of this subject have come down, and literary allu- 
sions are common as late as the eighteenth century. 


Page 44. * No goose. 9 At this period geese were a luxury 
not often relished by persons like our Draper, and one may im- 
agine how he had set his heart on eating this delicacy at Pate- 
lin's table. See Note x. 


Page 48. * Three lessons and three psalms.' Between the 
eleventh and fourteenth centuries the Franciscans began to feel 
that the Breviary required them to recite too many lessons and 
too many psalms. So they reduced the number from nine to 
three, at least, on certain occasions only three lessons and three 
psalms were required. In the thirteenth century it became cus- 
tomary in France to recite only three psalms at matins throughout 
Easter, nor was this easy-going way characteristic merely of the 
Abbey of Fecamp, as a famous passage in Rabelais might lead us 
to suppose. ' ft According to what usage," said Gargantua [to the 
monk], < f do you say these beautiful hours ? " " According 
to the usage of Fecamp," said the monk, "with three lessons 
and three psalms, or, for those who are unwilling, nothing at 
all." * ( Gargantua, i, 41. ) 

Before the days of printing, breviaries were so costly that they 
were often chained to a bench in the choir, and each monk or 

[ I0 4 ] 


priest had to learn the minimum by heart. That those who knew 
only the minimum should have excited the pity or scorn of their 
more diligent brethren, and that their feelings should have been 
expressed in such a manner as to give rise to this proverbial taunt, 
is not contrary to the tendencies of human nature. The Draper 
could hardly have hit upon a more ludicrously appropriate phrase 
to express his contemptuous indignation and his self-esteem. 


Page 50. 'The Abbot of Ivernaux.* The Abbey of Iver- 
naux, or Hivernaux, was situate near the hamlet called Brie-Comte- 
Robert, which lies some twenty miles southeast of Paris, in 
whose archbishopric was the Church of Ivernaux. The Abbey of 
Ivernaux was sadly weakened by the wars of the fourteenth and 
fifteenth centuries. 

But to what Abbot of Ivernaux is Patelin alluding ? 

In a lease dated 1441, and in another dated 1451, one Nico- 
las Bottelin is spoken of as * abbot. * Another lease, dated 1 46 1 , 
applies the title to a Jean d' Arquevilliers. Philippe seems to have 
been the name of an Abbot of Ivernaux who signed a lease on 
31 March, 1468. 

Whatever may be the advantage of knowing these names, 
very barren things at best, it is worth our while to learn that 
in 1468, the year before Patelin first entered an extant record, 
the Abbot of Ivernaux was no longer a power, for his abbacy 
had sunk into poverty ; yet even a certain wealth and influence 
would hardly have saved the Abbot of Ivernaux from being the 
butt of Patelin' s somewhat lewd jocularity, and we may be sure 
that our lawyer in his sham delirium was not shooting an arrow 
at the moon. The abbot was doubtless a gay fellow, and a worthy 
contemporary of Huguette du Hamel, who, notwithstanding her 
intimacy with Francois Villon and other reprobates, and although 
she had been guilty of inciting a hireling to murder, could still 



hold her position as Abbess of Port-Royal. Yet the real import- 
ance of this allusion to the Abbot of Ivernaux is that it seems to 
show* that our farce was composed to be performed in the region 
round about Brie-Comte-Robert ; for it is unlikely that this par- 
ticular abbot's fame had spread very far beyond the bounds of his 


Page 5 1. 'Mere de diou/ etc. In this and the following 
passages of dialect or jargon the translator was confronted by a 
problem of serious difficulty. Three courses seemed possible : 
(^) to transform Patelin into an out-and-out English farce, chang- 
ing the names of the characters, and transplanting the scene to 
medieval England ; (F) to preserve the point of Guillemette's 
explanations by leaving Patelin' s reveries untranslated; (r) to 
adopt the plan chosen by Albrecht Count Wickenburg, who, in 
his excellent verse-translation into German (Vienna, 1883), 
leaves no foreign words save the Latin, substituting for the other 
dialects and jargons certain passages of his own invention, in 
which Patelin is made to rave, now like a delirious alchemist who 
talks incoherently of quicksilver, sulphur, etc., or like a dying 
man who pretends to see the flames of hell, as well as other phe- 
nomena unnecessary to mention. 

Similar approximations will be found in Fournier's version 
(1871) and in a later (undated) version by Eudoxie Dupuis. 
The present translation, however, aims at the highest degree of 
literaBty consistent with the use of idiomatic, comprehensible Eng- 
lish, and aims, furthermore, to be loyal to what is not merely a 
farce, but also a document of historical importance. I doubt that 
the retention of these passages will destroy the reader's illusion : 
he will probably understand the obscurest of them quite as well 
as they were understood by Patelin 1 s first audience ; the others 
will simply be somewhat less intelligible than they seemed to 
Frenchmen in 1469. It may be added that the author of Patelin 
[ 106 ] 


has made these passages so long as to render them rather boresome 
from a modern point of view ; for, even if one understands them 
pretty well, they lack a certain charm which brevity imparts. 
I have not hesitated, therefore, to shorten them slightly ; but a 
comparison with any fifteenth-century edition will show the reader 
how the cutting was done. It seemed undesirable to attempt here 
in the Notes what would be a fragmentary and not very interest- 
ing series of translations. 


Page 54. f But how does he come to speak Norman.' Not 
in the original; added for clearness. 


Page 57. c Quid.' Qtti in the original. A mistake due, per- 
haps, to the fact that d final in French is generally silent. 


Page 57. The original text of Guillemette's speech is corrupt. 
My translation is based on a temporary attempt at restoration. 


Page 58. f How do you like me for a teacher ? ' in the 
original, Avant vous ay je lien aprms. Fifteenth-century syntax 
allows a so-called masculine past participle to go with a feminine 
antecedent. Vous means not the Draper, but Guillemette. 


Page 59. The long stage- direction describes how this episode 
of Patelin is wound up at the Comedie Francaise. The medieval 
stage had no curtain, and we have no means of knowing how 
Patelin and Guillemette made themselves inconspicuous at the 
close of this scene. 

[ 107 ] 



Page 60. e The Shepherd.' The Shepherd's entrance is too 
timely. Nothing in the plot warrants his appearance at precisely 
this instant. Similar unjustified entrances are common in Moliere, 
who, as has been said (Note xvi), often uses some stock formula 
to keep a character from seeming to blunder in. 


Page 60. 'Some one or other in striped hosen.' This was 
a Sergent a verge, an officer empowered to make arrests, effect 
seizures, etc. 


Page 62. <By Saint Lupus.' The Shepherd's oath is well 
chosen ; for wolves were still a pest at this period. Saint Lupus 
(Saint Wolf, to translate his name) was called Saint Leu in Old 
French. As late as 1633 there was standing near that Noyon 
which is mentioned on page 87 a monastery dedicated to Saint 
Leu, who was honoured, also, at Troyes in Champagne. 


Page 64. r A dealer.' The Shepherd does not name the 
f dealer * ; Patelin, on his side, neglects, or the dramatist, for his 
own convenience or through carelessness, neglects to have Patelin 
inquire as to the dealer's identity. So Patelin, on arriving at 
the trial, is astonished to confront the very individual whom he 
has himself cheated. The Draper, as we have seen, had lied to 
Patelin by telling him that his whole flock had perished in the 
great frost (page 1 8). That our crafty lawyer should fail to make 
the Shepherd divulge his master's name seems incredible ; it is to 
this flaw in characterisation that we owe one of the most comic 
features of the trial scene, namely the unexpected meeting of the 
Lawyer and his dupe. 




Page 67. * Answer nothing but ba-a,* etc. In the second 
part of his edition of A C. Mery Tales and Quicke Answers 
(Sbakespere Jest Books, page 60), Mr. W. Carew Hazlitt has 
reprinted the anecdote * Of hym that payde his dette with crienge 
bea. * In this version the Shepherd is replaced by a spendthrift ; 
otherwise the anecdote is nothing more nor less than a kind of 
disguised summary of the plot of Patelin from verse 1067 (in 
this translation, from Scene xvn) to the end. Whether this par- 
ticular anecdote figured in the edition of the C. Mery Tales 
printed by John Rastell about 1525, Mr. Hazlitt does not say. 
It entered, at all events, into the collection printed by Thomas 
Berthelet about 1535. Assuming this date to be nearly correct, 
we may assert that our French farce must have been known in 
England a century before Rabelais. It was, therefore, not through 
Rabelais that Patelin began to influence English literature. 

The legal episodes of Patelin, as they appear in the C. Mery 
Tales, might be conceived to occur at almost any time and in 
almost any country ; for no names are given. In PasquiP s yests 
(see Hazlitt, op. tit*, vol. in, pp. 45, 46), of which several 
editions were printed in the first half of the seventeenth century, 
we find almost exactly the same story, slightly shortened and 
with the scene laid in London. The version in Pasquil's Jests 
is derived, without doubt, from the earlier English version, and 
not from the French text. There can be no question of folklore 
in this matter : what we have is a loan, made through a literary 

To sum up : The last third of Patelin was epitomised for Eng- 
lish readers in the first third of the sixteenth century. But, to go 
further, I will venture the opinion that Patelin, in one or more 
of the many editions printed in France and in the fifteenth cen- 
tury, had crossed the Channel before 1500, and it was no doubt 

[ I0 9 ] 


from one of these original texts that some more or less literary 
person derived his summary. Yet it was probably through. Rabe- 
lais that the wily Patelin became known for the first time to a 
considerable number of people in England. See Introduction, 
page xxxvi ff. 


Page 69. f Welcome, sir ! * The Judge has no reason to sup- 
pose that Patelin has a client, but he knows that lawyer. See the 
beginning of the piece and notice that the Judge invites Patelin 
to supper (page 86). 


Page 75. f Come! Let's stick to those sheep!' *$us ! 
Revenons a ces moutons ! ' cries the Judge, and he coins one of 
those neat and useful phrases which soon make their way from 
country to country, entering the every -day speech of persons quite 
unaware to whom or what they are indebted. In his essay on 
Marlowe ( Old English Dramatists) James Russell Lowell says, 
( But it is high time that I should remember Maitre Guillaume of 
Patelin s and return to my sheep. * The mention of * Guillaume ' 
indicates that Lowell had read Patelin, and that he was not 
merely borrowing the words * to return to our sheep ' from Rabe- 
lais. In the first chapter of Gargantua> Rabelais says, * Retour- 
nant a nos moutons, je vous dis . . .'; but it is likely that the 
MS had been substituted for the less convenient ces (a homonym 
of ses") a good while before Rabelais read Patelin* Owing to 
facetiousness rather than to ignorance, moutons is usually rendered 
not by 'sheep,' but by 'muttons/ a mistranslation which 
neatly indicates the proverb's Gallic origin. 


Page 87. * Brainless* (Esservele) figured, no doubt, in some 
farce or morality no longer extant. In * Mr. Golightly/ * Dob- 
[ no ] 


bin,' etc., not to mention many allegorical names in the older 
comedy, English furnishes parallels. 


Page 87. Of Jean de Noyon nothing is known save what we 
may infer from the text of Patelin. Assuredly he was a real 
character, contemporary with the audience for which Patelm was 
first performed, and one may surmise that he was more or less 
notorious, and that he bore a strong, perhaps a comic, likeness to 
the actor who first played the part of Patelm. But this is guess- 
work. Whatever the truth may be, it is highly improbable that 
this Jean belonged to the noble family having its seat at Noyon ; 
for this family seems to have died out before the fifteenth century ; 
nor do I find a Jean de Noyon among the few Fools whose names 
have been handed down. 


Page 89. Why has the Shepherd remained? Simply to fur- 
nish another scene, one of the best scenes of all ; but obviously 
Lambkin had a good chance to escape when, the Judge dismissed 
him. In real life so canny a rogue would not fail to make him- 
self scarce as soon as possible. 


Page 94. Here occurs the first bit of moralising in Patelm / 
but the Lawyer is not repentant ; he is crestfallen at being 
outwitted by a shepherd : that is all. His chagrin is followed 
by a touch of anger, yet it is only a touch, and we may fancy 
a sardonic grin passing over his lean countenance as he looks again 
at the * sheep in clothing ' who has so admirably carried out his 
own instructions. 

Genuine moralisations, such as one finds in the younger Du- 
mas and in certain plays by Mr. Bernard Shaw, are exceedingly 
rare in the old French farces. 



Page 94. < If he finds me, I *11 forgive him I * These are the 
last words in all the old editions. They break the Shepherd's 
promise (page 67), but our dramatist, knowing human nature 
and drawing it with a sure hand, leaves his work with no weak 
or awkward ending. It is a skilful stroke to have the Shepherd 
behave like a man, after he has so ably behaved like a sheep. 
What becomes of him ? We imagine that he continues his mis- 
deeds till, after a while, he is nabbed, brought to book, and, hav- 
ing no Patelin to defend him, is properly hanged. 



THE edition of Patelin published by Genin in 1854 contains 
inaccurate reproductions of five of Levet's illustrative woodcuts: 
to wit, the first, second, third, fourth, and sixth. But with 
characteristic whimsicality or carelessness Genin borrowed 
the first and fourth from an inferior edition of Patelin by Jehan 
Treperel.^ The trial scene Genin got from Beneaut's Patelin 
(A. D. 1490), though he could have copied the original cut in 
Levet's edition. Beneaut's two almost identical cuts of the trial 
scene were not made from the block used by Levet, as some 
writers have stated ; for Levet's cut has not the same dimensions 
as the two in Beneaut's edition. 

In 1 870 Baillieu, * marchant libraire sur le quay des grids augus- 
tins a Paris,' to quote his pseudo-archaic colophon, published in 
the so-called * Bibliotheque gothique' what he apparently in- 
tended to pass off as a facsimile, or, at any rate, as a reprint of 
Levet's Patelin. Not only does Baillieu' s edition contain many 
gross textual blunders, but it so distorts Levet's cuts as to give 

* The Treperel Patelin, from which Genin seems to have borrowed his 
cuts, must have appeared after 13 October, 1499 5 ^ or * te colophon reads thus : 
Imprime a Pans par Jehan treperel demourant a la rue satnct iacques pres 
satnct yues a lymaige saint laurtm. Treperel had been obliged to remove to the 
above address after the fall of the Pont Nostre Dame on the 13 October, 

[ "5 ] 


a wholly false impression. In a word, BaHHeu's Patelin is an 
out-and-out imposture and even worse than worthless. 

Inasmuch as no one else has attempted in modern times, in so 
far as I am aware, to reproduce Levet's woodcuts, the facsimiles 
in this volume can rightly be called the first that have ever been 
made. They differ from the originals in the respect that no attempt 
has been made to imitate Levet's paper, or to reproduce the marks 
of age. Certain imperfections in Levet's cuts indicate, ap- 
parently, either that the only known exemplar of his edition was 
one of the last to be printed, or that the paper was not properly 
wetted. I may add that Levet's sixth illustration, to judge by 
the Shepherd's beard and other inconsistencies of drawing, can 
hardly have been made by the engraver who executed the other 
illustrations. See the Preface, page xiii. 

The printer's mark of Pierre Levet appears on the first page 
of his Patelin, and serves as a frontispiece to the present volume. 
Levet did not use the same block when he put this mark in his 
edition of Villon in 1489. 

As to the value of Levet's illustrations of Pate /in f see the Pre- 
face, pages ix and xiii. 

Levet's seven woodcuts are here reproduced by permission of 
M. Leopold Delisle, former Head Librarian of the Bibliotheque 

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